Photo: Protests in Venezuela
The United Nations criticized Friday the excessive use of force by the Venezuelan government to break up peaceful protests in Caracas.
“We unequivocally condemn all violence by all sides in Venezuela. We are particularly concerned at the reported excessive use of force by the authorities in response to protests,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, said.
Security forces removed, among others, a movement camped peacefully in front of the U.N. Development Program office in Caracas, he said.
He said the UN repeated its petition to the government “to ensure that people are not penalized for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression.”
The United Nations has received direct complaints from demonstrators, their families and attorneys, some referring to the lack of information about the whereabouts of those arrested when the protesters’ camps were wiped out over the past two days, Colville said.
Since Feb. 12, Venezuela has been experiencing a series of anti-government protests, which on occasion have become violent and so far have left more than 40 people dead and hundreds arrested.
The dead include both opponents and supporters of the government, as well as police and bystanders.
Among the hundreds of people in custody are members of the security forces accused in connection with two of the deaths.