Venezuela: opposition ramps up pressure

Spurred on by the release of an opposition leader, anti-government activists call for all political prisoners to be freed

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Venezuela: opposition ramps up pressure

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Anti-government protesters in Venezuela are occupying streets close to the Caracas home of recently freed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Although under house arrest he’s become a symbol for their demand for all political prisoners to be freed.

Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori says her husband’s early release from a 14 year sentence for allegedly inciting violence was only the first step.

Lopez’s lawyer Juan Carlos Gutierrez explained why his client hadn’t spoken to the media:

“Until now, we don’t know the content of the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court. In any case, we’re going to respect them. The request by Leopoldo Lopez’s defence to Mr. Lopez and his family is to maintain total and absolute caution with regards to words used by Mr. Lopez.”

Once again there have been clashes between activists and the national guard.

The opposition is seeking to ramp up pressure ahead of President Nicolas Maduro’s planned vote on July 30 to elect members of a new controversial assembly with powers to rewrite the constitution.

Maduro has said the assembly is the only way to bring peace to Venezuela.

His opponents have said that it is a ruse designed to avoid free and fair elections that the Socialist Party would lose. The opposition is holding its own referendum on Sunday to let Venezuelans have their say.