Caracas, Sep 8 (IANS) A week after mass protests, Venezuela witnessed fresh demonstrations across the country against the government of President Nicolas Maduro with demands of a recall referendum.
The supporters of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) held rallies on Wednesday — though on a smaller scale as compared to the massive protests staged on September 1.
The MUD sought to pressure the National Electoral Council (CNE) to speed up the procedure to call a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro, Xinhua news agency reported.
In response, the PSUV marched “in defence of peace” and against the MUD’s moves which, according to the PSUV, were attempts to destabilise the country.
Speaking ahead of the opposition march, Jesus Torrealba, Executive Secretary of the MUD, urged the CNE to rapidly provide a start date for the collection of signatures of 20 per cent of the electorate — around 4 million people — needed to trigger the referendum.
CNE Director Socorro Hernandez said the electoral authorities are due to provide details next week on the timeline of the referendum process, adding that the collection of signatures was being planned.
Torrealba called on all machines to be working at all polling stations, so that all may have the opportunity to validate the signatures.
Despite the MUD’s pressure, the PSUV stated that it would be technically unviable to hold the referendum this year and that the MUD is stirring up violence to attempt a coup against Maduro.