December 20, 2014
Venezuela arrests hundreds of anti-gov't protesters
Venezuelan security forces rounded up hundreds of youth activists camped in public spaces as part of protests against President Nicolas Maduro, an effort to snuff out the waning demonstration movement.
Troops staged pre-dawn raids to break up four improvised tent camps decorated with Venezuelan flags and signs bearing protest slogans, one of which had for weeks been blocking traffic along a main avenue of the capital.
Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said soldiers arrested 243 people, accusing the students of using the camps as a base of operations to stage violent protests in other parts of the city.
"[Troops] impounded drugs, weapons, explosives ... all of the things that they were using every day to violent confront security forces every day," Torres told state television.
The near-daily protests of February and March, which saw clouds of tear gas and barricades of burning trash and tires, have waned sharply as opposition sympathizers took stock that Maduro is unlikely to be pushed from office.
Forty-one people have been killed according to official figures and nearly 800 injured. About 3,000 people have been arrested since February, with today's latest round-up leaving about 450 people still in detention.