Disturbing footage shows a Venezuelan national guard armored vehicle rolling over anti-government protesters in the Caracas neighborhood of Altamira.
Clashes between riot police officers and protesters are growing immensely violent. As thousands of demonstrators chased them with sticks, rocks, bottles and stones, the authorities charged back by pushing an armored vehicle towards the crowd, leaving more than 300 people injured.
Venezuelan streets have met with chaos, protests and bloodshed for weeks, as President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro called for a new assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution in an attempt to consolidate control. Other political parties who have been excluded from the constitution-writing entity feel that they are being sidelined.
According to Maduro, the new constitution was necessary to overcome the gridlock paralyzing the country so that the nation’s considerable oil wealth could be channeled to the people more effectively. Venezuela was South America's most stable democracy until 1998, with the largest oil reserves in the world. Yet the residents face massive food and medical shortages as inflation rises up to triple digits.
Critics opposed the new constitution as a suspicious strategy that will dodge the national assembly.
"This is a scam to deceive the Venezuelan people with a mechanism that is nothing more than a coup," said Julio Borges, National Assembly president, after calling Venezuelan for mass protests.
Many protesters choked due to clouds of tear gas just a little farther from Venezuela’s capital where President Maduro declared to initiate the process of rewriting the nation’s constitution.
According to reports, at least one person who was stuck under the armored truck is critically injured. Thousands of Maduro opponents have been expressing outrage on the streets. At least 35 people have died amid political chaos and turmoil surrounding the country for a month.
According to Mayor Ramon Muchacho of the opposition-dominated Chacao municipality, cases of injuries included 134 traumas and 17 cases of people suffering from tear gas.