By Marion V. Ali, Staff Reporter
Venezuelan law enforcement authorities detained 243 protesters during an early-morning operation on Thursday that targeted four campsites set up at public squares around Caracas.
The raid involved more than 900 members of the Venezuelan National Guard and police. Demonstrators who witnessed the operation complained about the way it was carried out. One of the persons staying at a campsite reported that law enforcement authorities showed up and destroyed the campsite.
Miguel Rodriguez, Venezuelan peace and justice minister said he had no choice but to deploy security forces to ensure public safety.
This latest incident followed clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces that have left more than 40 people dead and around 800 injured since February.
Meanwhile in Washington, senators introduced a bill to impose sanctions on Venezuelan government officials who they accuse of human rights violations.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the bill an act of aggression against his country and promised a bold response. He threatened to shut down Venezuelan consulates around the United States.
Maduro called protesters “fascists and extreme right thugs” who are trying to destabilize his government to promote a coup. Protesters in turn call Maduro a dictator who has ruined the Venezuelan economy with failed socialist policies.
(Pic: Carlos Becerras/AFP/Getty Images)