CLARIN ( Argentina); EL NACIONAL (Venezuela); AP
CARACAS - Protests in the Venezuelan capital have turned violent in the wake of presidential electoral results, which gave Nicolas Maduro a slim majority but prompted opposition calls for a recount.
After Sunday night's official declaration of Maduro as winner with 50.7% of the vote, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles called on the National Electoral Council (CNE) to conduct a full nationwide recount, citing irregularities at the polls. Earlier, Capriles, who had lost to Hugo Chavez last year, had urged his supporters to protest peacefully in the event of a victory by Maduro, the handpicked successor of Chavez, who died on March 5 after a long battle with cancer.
Pro-Capriles student protests Monday afternoon began peacefully, but later turned violent as they threw stones and concrete slabs at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, writes Clarin.
Pro-government Venezuelan daily El Nacional reported that Maduro charged the opposition with failing to recognize democratic institutions, and warned that Capriles might be organizing a coup.
President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, wrote on his Twitter page that the Assembly will be investigating Capriles, blaming him for the violence that began after the elections. “Capriles is a fascist. I’ll personally ensure that he will pay for the damage to our country and our people."
Capriles fascista, me encargaré personalmente que pagues por todo el daño que le estás haciendo a nuestra Patria y a nuestro Pueblo
— Diosdado Cabello R (@dcabellor) April 16, 2013
Clarin reports that more protests began at 8 pm local time on Monday, at the same time that Maduro was speaking at a press conference, coming just hours after the CNE declared him as president elect.
The cacerolazo protest consisted of people banging pots and pans to show how loud their discontent truly was, says the AP.