Venezuela: Army ordered into streets ahead of planned nationwide protest on April 19

Venezuela: Army ordered into streets ahead of planned nationwide protest on April 19
Starving Venezuelans sort through trash (Image: YouTube screen grab via Associated Press)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the army into the streets as the volatile country braces for what his opponents vow will be the “mother of all protests” on Wednesday.

Maduro, who has faced violent protests over recent moves to tighten his grip on power, ordered the military to defend the leftist “Bolivarian revolution” launched by his late mentor Hugo Chavez in 1999.

“From the first reveille (on Monday morning), from the first rooster crow, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces will be in the streets… saying, ‘Long live the Bolivarian revolution,'” Maduro said Sunday night in a televised address. …

Venezuela has been rocked by two weeks of unrest since Maduro’s camp moved to consolidate its control with a Supreme Court decision quashing the power of the opposition-majority legislature.

The court partly backtracked after an international outcry, but tension only rose further when authorities slapped a political ban on opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Five people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the ensuing protests as riot police clashed with demonstrators.

Maduro’s opponents have called for a massive protest Wednesday, a national holiday that marks the start of Venezuela’s independence struggle in 1810.

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