Venezuelan security forces have quashed anti-government protests across the capital Caracas .
The rallies, which have been ongoing for almost three months, have claimed over 60 lives and injured hundreds. Protesters, backed by jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, are demanding new presidential elections.
His wife said Lopez had been offered a deal to exchange prison for house arrest, but he had refused.
He released this statement from the military prison where he is being held.
“To all of Venezuela, I call on you to stay on the streets, with steadiness, with determination. Always peacefully, but permanently. It’s a fight that cannot end until we are victorious. A protest that has to happen everywhere, in every corner, at all times. That is the only way we will achieve freedom and democracy.”
On Friday (June 2), Venezuela’s embattled Socialist President, Nicolas Maduro, announced a constitutional referendum would be held. However, this so far appears to have done little to assuage the concerns of demonstrators, who are taking to the streets on a near-daily basis to call for the release of jailed activists, foreign humanitarian aid and autonomy for the opposition-controlled National Assembly.