Users of the social networks reported that during the afternoon of this Wednesday, November 18, a violent protest took place in Avenida Baralt in Caracas, a few blocks from the Miraflores Palace, after a confrontation between the Bolivarian National Police and indigenous people of the ethnic group Yukpa.
A group of approximately 300 persons, members of indigenous communities in the state of Zulia, arrived in Caracas, the capital of the country, to request a meeting with Nicolas Maduro and demand that he takes care of the situation in the Sierra de Perija after the flash floods of recent days. Police intercepted the group and prevented them from passing.
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“They do not want us to use our rights, in full freedom. The police, the Army, the (National) Guard, are threatening us at once with their weapons. We denounce President Nicolas Maduro,” a demonstrator is heard saying in a video recorded during the afternoon when the demonstrators were walking through the center of the capital towards the seat of government.
The action escalated in tension, and there was a confrontation between indigenous people and police on the Llaguno bridge, on the staircase that leads to Urdaneta Avenue. It was known that by 10:00 pm, people were still at the site in protest.
Journalists Jesus Medina and Delmiro de Barrio tweeted that a National Guard official got injured by an arrow in the confrontation but, the information has not been confirmed. Bows and arrows are visible in some pictures of the riot.
The chief of the Yukpa people, Sandra Peñaranda, made a statement in an audio broadcast by WhatsApp. She indicated that she intended to expose the situation in Perija after the overflow of the Kunana, Toronto, and Yaza rivers, which first took place in October 2019 and hasn’t been addressed by the regime and was made worse again this year by recent floods near the area.
In 2019, Peñaranda said seven children died in the floods while hundreds were affected. The indigenous leader affirms that one year after the tragedy, the local authorities still have not given the necessary aid to the victims.
“We came to demand our rights here in Caracas, since over there (Zulia) we are not taken into account, it seems that we been forgotten. So we want the president himself to attend to us because it is enough of the Ministry, always deceiving us,” she declared.
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Peñaranda said they were mistreated by the police. A woman got injured after being run over by a car on the avenue. However, a demonstrator contacted by El Pitazo said that the indigenous woman, who was holding a baby, was attacked by a uniformed man who pushed her.
Authorities and pro-Maduro gangs seemed to know the demonstrators were coming. On Wednesday morning, around the Miraflores Palace, there was a strong military and tank deployment due to a security drill that lasted a few hours but was over by the time of the protest.
It became known that irregular groups calling themselves Colectivos and National Guard officials keep the road to Baralt Avenue closed to prevent the arrival of non-governmental organizations and the media.
After 11:00 pm, several buses sent by the government arrived at Puente Llaguno to take away the indigenous people, who had declared that they would sleep in the street and would not leave until they obtained an answer from Miraflores. The group refused to board the units because they say they do not know where the officials plan to take them.