The rallies staged by dissenters and government supporters on Thursday in Caracas crowded the main avenues of the Venezuelan capital city quietly, in parallel, but not in the same places and not with the same slogans.
With opposed views and grounds, thousands of people taking part in both demonstrations shared a standpoint: advocating peace and a quick solution to the economic, social and political crisis hitting Venezuela.
The opposition rally, called “Takeover of Caracas” was staged at seven points of Caracas. A number of opposition leaders, members of opposition alliance Unified Democratic Panel, led rallies at the Río de Janeiro, Francisco de Miranda and Libertador avenues.
Sources reported on blockades and attacks against dissenters trying to reach Caracas from a number of states to join the opposition demonstration.
The “Takeover of Caracas” was intended to ask the Executive Office to respect the Constitution in connection with Venezuelans’ right to demand and stage a recall vote for early termination of President Nicolás Maduro’s term in office. They urged the National Electoral Council (CNE) to set a date to collect the signatures of 20% of registered voters –a pre-requisite to launch the recall vote against Maduro. Dissenters also advocated the holding of the referendum this year.
In parallel, supporters of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) also staged a demonstration on Thursday. From Plaza Venezuela, north Caracas, pro-government activists walked towards the Bolívar Avenue, downtown Caracas.
Ricardo Menéndez, the Vice President for Planning and Knowledge, highlighted that government followers rallied “not on behalf of a political trend but with the conviction of a country that believes and defends the construction of democracy and peace in Venezuela.”
The Venezuelan government has accused the opposition of having “hidden plans” and conspiring to stage a coup d’état in Venezuela to overthrow Maduro and favor foreign intervention in Venezuela.