What lies behind the Venezuela protests?


They also complained about record inflation (official figures suggest yearly inflation in December 2013 stood a...


They also complained about record inflation (official figures suggest yearly inflation in December 2013 stood at 56.2%) and shortages of basic food items.

The protests in Tachira turned violent, triggering the arrest of several students, which in turn led to demonstrations in Caracas calling for their release.

The protests in Caracas started on 12 February and quickly turned deadly when three people were shot by gunmen following a largely peaceful march that same day. There have been many demonstrations since then, varying in size from small gatherings to large rallies.

Who is protesting?

Students were the first to take to the streets. Unlike many Latin American countries, Venezuela's student movement is largely conservative in its outlook.

When the protests spread to Caracas, the students were joined by hardliners from within the umbrella opposition group Table for Democratic Unity (MUD). Leopoldo Lopez, a former mayor and political maverick, and Maria Corina Machado, an MP, are the main political figures in the movement.

The elected leader of the opposition, Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost to President Nicolas Maduro in April last year, was opposed to the initial marches.

After more than 500 people were arrested and more than a dozen killed, Mr Capriles and a more moderate sector of the opposition also took to the streets asking for peaceful demonstrations. According to many observers and to Mr Capriles himself, the protests are made up of a middle-class majority, with middle-class concerns.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-26335287
Source-BBC
onlineservice/bbc.co.uk-2014BBC

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