- Title: Venezuelans march to protest constituent assembly set for July
- Date: 24th May 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (MAY 24, 2017) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS GATHERED ON STEPS PROTESTERS HOLDING SIGNS READING (IN SPANISH): "350 NOW!" (REFERRING TO ARTICLE 350 OF THE VENEZUELAN CONSTITUTION BY WHICH THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE CAN CHOOSE NOT TO RECOGNISE A GOVERNMENT SEEN AS ILLEGITIMATE) CLOSE-UP OF PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNERS READING (IN SPANISH): "350 NOW!" VENEZUELAN FLAG GENERAL VIEW PROTESTERS MARCHING CROWD OF PROTESTERS MARCHING ELDERLY WOMAN MARCHING WITH A SHOWER CAP IN VENEZUELAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OPPOSITION LAWMAKER, MIGUEL PIZARRO, SAYING: "What has been laid out by Maduro and the National Electoral Council is constitutional fraud, a non-election which eliminates the universal, direct and secret vote, which eliminates the principle by which we are all equal in taking decisions, this is what we have to fight against, they have tried to deepen the fraud, they have tried to deepen the crisis, and the response to this is one of conviction, forcefulness, strength, determination. We Venezuelans here in the street demand a future, demand change and we do not validate nor recognise the change by way of the Constituent Assembly." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS WALKING AND CHANTING PROTESTERS MARCHING ELDERLY MAN IN VENEZUELA CAP MARCHING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PROTESTER, TITA BONFRAN, SAYING: "The idea of the Constituent Assembly, communism and all those things that they want to pass over our heads will not be possible because we will not tolerate it, we are tired, they were given their chance, 18 years, it is not as if they did not have the chance, they had it and they have done nothing for Venezuela." PEOPLE MARCHING WOMAN MARCHING HOLDING VENEZUELAN FLAG IN THE AIR GENERAL VIEW OF PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING WITH VENEZUELAN FLAG
- Embargoed: 7th June 2017 19:45
- Keywords: crisis Nicolas Maduro opposition march Venezuela
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016I786YV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuelans marched in a peaceful protest on Wednesday (May 24) against leftist President Nicolas Maduro as the announcement of two election dates failed to appease anger.
The pro-government electoral council on Tuesday said voting for a controversial "constituent assembly" would be held in July and delayed state elections in December.
Maduro foes countered that was a sham designed to confuse Venezuelans, prompt infighting among the opposition over strategy, and allow the unpopular leftist government to dodge free and fair elections they would likely lose.
Opposition lawmakers say the assembly, whose 540 members will be elected on a municipal level and by community groups like workers, will be filled with government stooges who will merely obey Maduro's orders to rewrite the constitution.
Maduro says he is facing an "armed insurrection" and the constituent assembly, a super body that will supersede all other public powers, is the way to restore peace to Venezuela.
Opposition lawmaker, Miguel Pizarro, said at the march that the moves represented constitutional fraud, and a "non-election which eliminates the universal, direct and secret vote." He said the opposition would continue to fight for change and would not recognise nor validate change by way of the constituent assembly.
The opposition is calling for a referendum to be held on whether to proceed with election to the Constituent Assembly, whilst some are calling for Article 350 of the constitution to be activated, a mechanism by which the Venezuelan people move not to recognise the authority of a government they consider illegitimate.
Opposition supporters were planning to march to the electoral council on Wednesday, although National Guard soldiers were in place to stop them, and teargas was fired in at least one place. Over and over in the last weeks, troops and police have faced off with masked youths hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.
In a speech on Wednesday, Venezuela's chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega said 55 people had been killed in unrest, around 1,000 others injured, and 346 properties burned or looted as chaos flares across the oil-rich country reeling from economic crisis.
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