Saturday, November 27, 2021

Students hold vigil for deceased, opposition calls for another protest

A woman covers her mouth with a sign reading ‘S.O.S.’ (the international Morse code distress signal) during vigil in Caracas, Venezuela, 29 April 2017. Venezuelan students held a 12-hour vigil in honor of people whom lost their lives during the recent anti-government rallies, while opposition parties called for another march on Monday in order to call for general elections and a new Supreme Court. EPA/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

Caracas, Apr 29 (efe-epa).- Venezuela’s Student Movement has been holding since Saturday a 12-hour-long vigil to honor the people who have died during anti-government protests, while the opposition called for another protest on Monday to demand the holding of general elections and a new Supreme Court.

The vigil, to be held at the Bolivar Plaza in Caracas’ Chacao municipality, will go on until 7:00 am Sunday local time (11:00 GMT) and students, politicians and members of the public will participate in it, said the Students’ Movement.
The university counselor at the Andrés Bello Catholic University Santiago Acosta said in a press release that the vigil’s main aim is to pay homage to the students and all others, who died unjustly in the protests this month and in 2014.

Acosta added that at 6.00 am, there will be a mass to pray for peace for the souls of the deceased and that of the country.
At the Plaza, professors will lecture on how to carry out non-violent protests, freedom of expression and democracy.

The opposition alliance Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) or the Democratic Unity Roundtable will also accompany the initiative, which according to the Students’ Movement, has united relatives of the victims and political prisoners.
V
ice President of the National Assembly and opposition leader Freddy Guevara, will also participate in the vigil with other deputies such as Juan Guaido and Stalin Gonzalez.

Guevara urged the citizens to support the vigil and to prepare for the protest on May 1.

Hundreds of people participate in a vigil in Caracas, Venezuela, 29 April 2017. EPA/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

The vigil takes place hours after a young man named Juan Pablo Pernalete, who died on Wednesday during a protest in Caracas, was buried.

“Today is a sad day as another young man has died (…) it was painful and sad being with his family, his parents, his grandparents,” tweeted the two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who is also present at the vigil.
Communications minister Ernesto Villegas and foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez held a press conference Saturday to shed light on Pernalete’s death.

Villegas said that according to the police, Pernalete could have been murdered with a captive bolt gun (used to stun animals), and added that there are videos that show Pernalete walking before two men approach him.
The minister added that one of the men, wearing an orange shirt and gloves, could have pointed the gun at another individual in a blue flannel shirt, who escaped the scene immediately.

A man with his face painted with the colors of the Venezuelan flag participates in a vigil in Caracas, Venezuela, 29 April 2017. EPA/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

The cause of death of Pernalete has not yet been clarified by the prosecutor’s office, as it said Wednesday that the autopsy is underway and that there is a wound in Pernalete’s left pectoral muscle.

Amid the incident, the opposition has called all its parties countrywide for a protest on May 1 to urge the National Electoral Council and the Supreme Court to call general elections and form a new court.

In Caracas, there will be two demonstrations, one that will begin in the west of the city on Victoria Avenue and proceed towards the elections council building; while the other one will begin in the eastern part of the city on Francisco de Miranda Avenue, moving to the Supreme Court.

Both buildings are in the city center.

Venezuela’s opposition has been calling for a series of demonstrations since Apr. 1, demanding the removal of the Supreme Court’s seven magistrates, who are accused of ruling on a verdict – which was revoked later – in favor of a state coup that affected the parliament.

Several protests became violent and 29 people died, with 500 injured and over a thousand detained.