Fw: 2 Dead, Dozens Injured In Caracas

La Sainte pleau at prodigy.net
Sat Jan 4 14:05:47 MST 2003


----- Original Message -----
Date Sent: Friday, January 03, 2003 9:42 PM
Subject:  2 Dead, Dozens Injured In Caracas


>
> AP, BBC and AFP. 3 January 2003. Two killed, dozens injured as troops
break
> up opposition protest, clash with Chavez supporters.
>
> CARACAS -- Two people were shot and killed and at least 78 others were
> injured during a protest Friday aimed at toppling President Hugo Chavez,
as
> violence escalated in this South American country.
>
> It was unclear who fired on the protest, which pitted opposition
> demonstrators against government troops and Chavez supporters.
>
> Troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas to keep Chavez opponents and
> supporters from clashing outside the Venezuelan capital's military
> headquarters.
>
> Caracas Fire Chief Rodolfo Briceno said two men died of gunshot wounds and
> another five were wounded by gunfire that erupted at the rally. He said at
> least 73 other people were injured -- either by rocks thrown during the
melee
> or by asphixiation from the tear gas.
>
> The trouble started when opposition demonstrators marched to the city's
main
> barracks, calling for the release of a dissident officer, General Carlos
> Alfonso Martinez of the National Guard.
>
> They also urged the armed forces to support their campaign against
President
> Chavez.
>
> They were confronted by Chavez supporters, who began throwing stones,
bottles
> and fireworks.
>
> Barricades of burning tyres and rubbish set up by the Chavez supporters
sent
> smoke billowing across the city.
>
> Troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas to keep Chavez opponents and
> rock-throwing supporters apart outside the Venezuelan capital's military
> headquarters.
>
> Caracas Fire Chief Rodolfo Briceno said three people were injured by
gunfire
> and 77 people were hurt by rocks or suffered asphyxiation from the tear
gas.
>
> Among the injured were seven police officers, said Police Chief Henry
Vivas.
> Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez said the injured included 11 people hurt
in
> a stampede.
>
> Col. Jose Rodrigo Pantoja, commander of the military police, said marchers
> weren't authorized to enter the plaza, which the government has declared a
> security zone -- one of eight such zones in Caracas. He said soldiers
acted
> only after the opposition march reached the plaza.
>
> Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel blamed "irresponsible" march leaders
for
> trying to enter the security zone. "They tried to break through a security
> barrier and that produced the clashes with security forces," Rangel told
The
> Associated Press.
>
> Thousands of people milled about in neighborhoods near Los Proceres as
> guardsmen clashed with Chavez supporters, some of whom ran through a cloud
of
> tear gas carrying an injured colleague on a stretcher.
>
> "We will fight today if we need to, we will take to the streets with or
> without arms, masked or not, whatever it takes to defend the
constitution,"
> said Alberto Carrillas, a leader of the pro-Chavez Tupamaro vigilantes,
who
> used a megaphone to urge chavistas, some brandishing sticks, to stand
firm.
>
> "I'm supporting the honest (oil) workers and my president, Hugo Chavez
Frias,
> who is taking us out of poverty," Carmen Chacon, 60, said.
>
>



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