CARACAS, Monday February 24, 2014 | Update

Repression and harassment night by night

National Guard rushes into demonstrators while collectives shoot from buildings

Barricades remain everywhere in the capital city of Venezuela (Miguel Gutiérrez)
Monday February 24, 2014  12:40 PM
For the residents of Rómulo Gallegos Avenue, eastern Caracas, the night of Friday, February 21 was one of the worst times they have undergone since the beginning of protests in Venezuela. Particularly in that sector, barricades have blocked the access to the thoroughfare since Wednesday, February 13.

"We took mattresses out from the apartment and had to sleep down the corridor of the building, because in the middle of smoke and bullets we did not feel safe even at home," Ángelo Ávila recounts.

He explained that since Thursday, February 14, barricades are erected after 5:00 in the afternoon. In less than five minutes, residents of the upper sector of urbanization Horizonte assemble a street protest with tires and trash and set the materials to fire.

"They do not suffer because they leave all that in fire and go home afterwards; but those, who live in the avenue are harmed," Ávila mutters.

Others who comment on the situation in the area prefer not to be called by name. They have ascribed the street protest of Friday and the placement of a steel cable that made Elvir Rafael Durán fall down and die to a group of youngsters who refuse to talk about the aim of their protest.

They relate that just before Durán fell down, many bikers came (more than one hundred, they estimate) with long and small weapons and shot at the air.

"They point to apartments as if they were identifying somebody," a resident noted.

Local residents believe that the barricades erected time after time will bring along more problems for the community, as they cause clashes with people who want or need to pass and attract violent, fearsome groups.

One of the residents adds that many in her building are suffering from respiratory distress. Her son, beside her, tells that he would rather swallow the smoke for some days "than living 40 years in communism."