Dozens were injured and at least two people killed in Venezuela during a mass anti-government demonstration that the opposition called “the mother of all marches,” reports the Guardian.
After Nicolás Maduro called for a simultaneous rally of supporters against “a US-backed coup,” while supplying guns to sympathetic civil militias, fears of violence rose as tens of thousands of Venezuelans flooded the streets to vent their anger at an administration that has led the country into the world’s deepest economic recession, despite its vast oil supplies.
“We ask Pope Francis to do for Venezuela what Pope John Paul II did for Poland,” a local priest told the Guardian, referring to the role the Catholic church played in overthrowing communism in eastern Europe.
In the 18 years since the late Hugo Chávez, and then Maduro, assumed power, Venezuelans have “grown accustomed to giant rallies for and against the government,” says the Guardian, but the mood has grown much more confrontational recently than ever before.
Wednesday’s deaths bring the total number of deaths at protests this month to seven.