People of Caracas and Venezuela v.p. blame metro cops in killings, shootings

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sun Jan 5 11:43:43 MST 2003

When the Chavez government allowed the opposition city government to resume
control of the cops, this was a chance for them to adapt their brutal ways
to the new political situation in the country.  Instead, their attacks have
become more murderous.  (Why am I not surprised?)
The demands for "popular justice" are putting the government in a stronger
position to act firmly against the pattern of  police violations of
constitutional rights.
Fred Feldman

Subject: Chavistas protest deaths, latest shootings

AFP (with additional material by AP). 5 January 2003. Chavez supporters
protest deaths, shootings in volatile Venezuela.

CARACAS -- Chanting "popular justice," supporters of embattled
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Sunday protested the deaths of two
people during clashes with opposition demonstrators and a shooting
during their wake.

The government loyalists gathered outside the Caracas funeral home where
the shooting occurred on Saturday night, and planned to continue their
protest during a funeral march for the two victims of Friday's clashes.

The Caracas metropolitan police, often considered sympathetic to the
opposition, and the government gave conflicting reports of the events.

Metropolitan police chief Henry Vivas told Globovision televison two of
his men were wounded Saturday when shots were fired and rocks hurled at
a police station near the funeral home where the wake was held.

But Chavez supporters claimed police taunted mourners and opened fire.

"There was no provocation at all from the people who were here mourning
their dead," said Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel.

Rangel, who was among the mourners, pointed an accusing finger at police
officers both for Friday's killings and Saturday's shooting.

"There are several indications that point to members of the metropolitan
police in these crimes, these people don't even respect the dead. What
Vivas says is irresponsible," Rangel told journalists.

Rangel claimed the government had a videotape showing city police were
responsible for Friday's shooting deaths.

On Sunday, government supporters, chanting "popular justice" and "Chavez
don't go" expressed outrage at the metropolitan police and at the
opposition's demand for Chavez to quit.

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