A STUDENT TAKES PART in an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela, on 16 February. In recent weeks, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets to voice their displeasure with economic stagnation, rising violent crime, and alleged breaches of press freedom by the government under president Nicolás Maduro. Several of the demonstrations have turned violent. Venezuelan officials have repeatedly referred to the demonstrators as “fascists”, and alleged that they are planning a “coup d’état”.
On 12 February, a 24-year-old man was fatally shot in Caracas after some young protestors at a rally threw rocks at police officers and a government building. The protests escalated, and on 18 February, a prominent opposition leader, Leopoldo López, addressed a boisterous crowd of several thousand before surrendering to police on charges of having instigated violence. Garcelis Montilla, a 53-year-old local merchant, told the New YorkTimes, “Leopoldo’s arrest for crimes that he didn’t commit is the drop that caused the glass to overfill.”