March 11, 2014
Venezuela opposition leader López turns himself in amidst protests
Hardline opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has handed himself over to Venezuelan security forces answering an arrest warrant placed on the figure following last week's fatal protests.
Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist who has spearheaded the protest movement, got into an armored vehicle after giving a speech to an opposition rally in Caracas on another chaotic day in the South American OPEC member nation."Today I present myself before an injust, corrupt justice system, which does not act according to the constitution and law, but I present myself before my fellow Venezuelans, with our deepest commitment that if I go to jail it will serve to wake up the people and the majority of Venezuelans who want change in peace and democracy," López stated as he addressed a protest in Bríon de Chacaito square.
"We have to build a way out of this disaster and the way out has to be peaceful and within the constitution, but it also has to be on the streets."
The opposition figure, who announced that he would walk towards a police barricade to turn himself in, told supporters "I am innocent. I have nothing to fear, and I will always show my face."
López was also accompanied by Henrique Capriles, who unsuccessfully ran against Maduro in the 2013 presidential elections.
Several thousand oil workers and Maduro supporters, clad in the red of the ruling Socialist Party, held their own demonstration today, music blaring in a party atmosphere.
"Comrade President Nicolas Maduro can count on the working class," said oil union leader Wills Rangel.Fighting in Venezuela following a series of protests has claimed four lives in the past week, the most recent yesterday evening when a 17-year-old was struck by a vehicle in the east of the country.