Vigilantism has occurred during protests in Venezuela. In this photo, demonstrators set fire to Orlando Figuera, a man accused of stealing at a protest. Photo: Meridith Kohut / The New York Times

By Meridith Kohut
22 July 2017

CARACAS, Venezuela (The New York Times) – Motley throngs of masked antigovernment protesters hurl rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails. The police and soldiers retaliate with tear gas, water cannon blasts, rubber bullets and buckshot.

An uprising is brewing in Venezuela.

Nearly every day for more than three months, thousands have taken to the streets to vent fury at President Nicolás Maduro and his increasingly repressive leadership.

These confrontations often turn into lopsided and sometimes lethal street brawls — more than 90 people have been killed and more than 3,000 arrested.

I have worked as a photojournalist for The New York Times in Venezuela for nine years, and for the past two have focused on the plight of Venezuelans struggling with the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.

I have witnessed their growing anger as food and medicine disappear and Mr. Maduro’s authoritarianism intensifies.

His government has delayed elections while jailing protesters and political opponents. Now he has called for a new constituent assembly to be elected at the end of the month, empowered to rewrite the Constitution, which many Venezuelans have called a blatant power grab and threat to their democracy.

Mr. Maduro has called the protests a violent attempt to overthrow his government. Demonstrators say they are invoking their right to rebellion against tyranny, guaranteed by the Constitution he wants to revise. [more]

The Battle for Venezuela, Through a Lens, Helmet and Gas Mask

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