The Gazette

Rock throwing, arson as Chavez, Capriles supporters clash at campaign event in Venezuela
The Gazette

Violence erupted at an opposition campaign event Wednesday as supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blocked a road and a campaign truck was torched. Both sides hurled rocks, and police said at least 14 people were hurt.

A large crowd of Chavez supporters in red shirts blocked a main road near the airport in the coastal town of Puerto Cabello before a visit by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. A truck used by Capriles’ campaign was set ablaze, and a motorcycle was also torched.

Capriles had been scheduled to visit an area that has traditionally leaned pro-Chavez, and opposition supporters were seen running to take cover during the violence.

After the violence, Capriles spoke at an outdoor rally in the town, blaming Chavez and small ‘radical groups.’ « Those actions aren’t spontaneous. There’s someone responsible for those actions, » Capriles told the crowd.

« We know that he who turns to violence, it’s that he’s afraid of the other’s ideas, » Capriles added. « We’re tired of violence. » Chavez has recently said his rival has a hidden agenda to impose right-wing measures « that would lead Venezuela to a civil war. »