UK & World News

  • 9 March 2014, 9:55

Venezuela: 'Empty Pot' Protesters Hit Streets

Protesters pushed back riot police as thousands of people armed with cooking pots took to the streets of Caracas to demonstrate against Venezuela's government.

The protest, which fell on International Women's Day, consisted mostly of female demonstrators who noisily clanged their cookware to show their discontent over shortages of basic goods and insecurity they say has become a part of daily life.

"There is nothing, nothing, nothing," read a placard carried by one protester fed up with stores that habitually run out of provisions, despite Venezuela's vast oil wealth.

By midday, more than 2,000 demonstrators had assembled in the capital Caracas, with many more expected.

The rally was called by the country's most prominent opposition leader, two-time presidential election runner-up Henrique Capriles, who lost to Maduro by a whisker in April 2013 elections.

For more than a month, demonstrators have complained about chronic shortages of food staples like bread, sugar, milk and butter.

Venezuelans are also seething over rampant violent crime and the arrests of protesters.

At least 20 people have now died since protests first erupted, giving Maduro his biggest test since succeeding late leader Hugo Chavez almost a year ago.

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