Monday, November 20, 2017

Venezuelans shut down capital again to protest government

By on May 15, 2017

Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, speaks to people attending a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017. Opposition leaders are demanding immediate presidential elections. (Fernando Llano/AP)

Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, speaks to people attending a national sit-in against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.  (Fernando Llano/AP)

CARACAS, Venezuela — Protesters are hauling folding chairs, beach umbrellas and coolers onto main roads for a national sit-in.

The “sit-in against the dictatorship” is the latest in a month and a half of street demonstrations against President Nicolás Maduro. Many Caracas businesses were closed Monday and taxi drivers suspended work in anticipation of a city-wide traffic shutdown.

Opposition leaders are demanding immediate presidential elections. Polls show the great majority of Venezuelans want Maduro gone as violent crime soars and the country falls into economic ruin.

The European Union is also calling for Venezuela elections. EU foreign ministers said Monday that “violence and the use of force will not resolve the crisis in the country.”

And the U.S. has expressed grave concern about the erosion of democratic norms in the South American country.

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