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13 April 2017, 01:37 | Maryann Sutton
Venezuelan bishops back anti-government protests, civil disobedience
In Caracas on Saturday, thousands of anti-Maduro protesters faced off against government forces, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them. The opposition has been rallying on the streets for two weeks in protest of several ruling by the Supreme Court to take over duties of parliament.
"The existence of isolated acts of violence during protests can not justify a blank restriction of the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression or the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against demonstrators", the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said Tuesday.
The announcement comes as secretary general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, has attracted criticism from Caracas and its allies for trying to invoke the organization's "Democratic Charter" against Venezuela for its economic and political crisis, which would trigger its suspension form the bloc.
Yesterday (10 April), several patients including a newborn baby had to be evacuated from a medical clinic in the Las Mercedes district after it was struck by tear gas canisters, a doctor there told reporters. He said 134 people remain detained, eight of whom he said are considered political prisoners.
In a brief statement released Monday, the European Union officially addressed the stand-off, calling on "all parties to find common ground and end the violence", which the body criticized for having increased divisions in the country.
"Heavily sanctioning the opposition - most recently an opposition politician Henrique Capriles Radonski who was banned from political life for 15 years - does not help to lower the unrest and the tensions in the country", it reads.
Police launched tear gas and stood shoulder-to-shoulder, blocking roadways, while demonstrators covered their faces and threw rocks as they tried to make their way downtown waving Venezuelan flags and carrying anti-Maduro signs.
Mexico's position reflects deep concern about the humanitarian crisis caused by food and medicine shortages in Venezuela, as well as the Supreme Court's recent short-lived decision to take over the powers of the country's opposition-controlled Congress.
Some 57 people were reported injured, according to Blyde and Chacao borough mayor Ramon Muchacho.
On Sunday the president called on the opposition to return to stymied efforts at dialogue and said he was eager for regional elections to take place.
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