Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urges more protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro

June 5, 2017 6:00 pm

Venezuelan opposition leader delivers a speech during a rally in Caracas on September 24, 2011. (Photo by AFP)

A jailed Venezuelan opposition leader has called for more street protests against the government of President , which he accused of “tyranny.”
In a video message posted online, Leopoldo Lopez expressed his “admiration for the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans” who have taken to the streets for more than two months “for democracy,” urging more such rallies.
He said that “rebellion, resistance and the protests are legitimate” against a government that was “despotic” and “tyrannical.”
Lopez, an opposition speaker and leader, described the protest movement as “historic” and said it “cannot end until we have reached victory.”  
The opposition figure, who was detained in 2014, is serving a 14-year jail term on charges of inciting violence in anti-government protests.
A judge, Nelson Moncada, who was involved in the sentencing of Lopez, was killed last week, in Caracas’ El Paraiso district, according to authorities.
The opposition, which blames Maduro for the county’s severe hyperinflation and widespread shortages of basic supplies, has been calling for an early presidential election meant to oust the president.

Masked protesters clash with riot police, during a rally against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. (Photo by AFP)

Maduro has slammed the right-wing campaign to spark destabilization in the South American country, vowing that he will not hesitate to put behind bars those responsible for fomenting violence.
Venezuela has been the scene of almost daily pro-and anti- Maduro protests and clashes since early April, after the Supreme Court stripped the opposition-controlled parliament of its powers. 
The decision was later revoked, but protesters continued to take to the streets across the country against the government of Maduro.
Prosecutors say at least 65 people have so far been killed.
The government says the protests are incited by the Unites Stated to remove President Maduro from power and has accused the opposition of hiring armed gangs. The opposition, too, has said the government has been using armed groups to intimidate them.
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