Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez arrested on Tuesday

Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez arrested on Tuesday

[Leopoldo] López, leader of the dissident Popular Will party, received a warrant for his arrest after suspected government officials killed three student protesters during peaceful protests last weekend. Upon issuing the warrant, government authorities raided the homes of López and several family members but failed to find him. López released a video on Twitter shortly thereafter from an undisclosed location, in which he urged protesters to gather in Caracas today and promised to be there to greet them.

López kept his promise and went to the statue of Martí and greeted thousands of protesters who gathered to support him against the charges leveled. …

López sent his final tweet around noon Caracas time:

“I am logging off. Thank you, Venezuela. Change is within every one of us. Let us not give up. I won’t!” Before being arrested at the foot of the Martí statue, he reiterated his hope that his arrest would help end the post-Chávez regime, adding, “if my arrest will help wake the people and allow for the majority of Venezuelans who want change to be able to construct it, it will be worth it.”

López is currently in custody and being transported to a government facility. Venezuelan newspaper El Universal reports that López was placed in a National Guard tank and sent to an undisclosed location, while the protest in his name continued. Spanish newspaper ABC reports that scuffles between protesters and police began immediately after López was escorted away. …

López, a Harvard-educated, pro-America former mayor who has been involved in the fight against Hugo Chávez since as early as 1998, amassed as many as 26 bogus criminal charges against him under Chávez’s reign. Under current dictator Maduro, this is López’s first major brush with the law. López is being held on charges of murder and terrorism for organizing anti-socialist protests this weekend which resulted in the deaths of three student protesters, and a fourth last night.

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