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Some protesters fear burning barricades anger Venezuelans

Feb. 27, 2014 at 4:55 PM   |   Comments

CARACAS, Venezuela, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The opposition to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is split on a common tactic in the streets -- burning barricades.

The "guarimbas," which began as piles of trash set on fire and are now often carefully engineered constructions of mattresses, lumber and other flammable material, appeared as the protest movement took off in recent weeks, the BBC reports.

By shutting down streets, they can leave urban neighborhoods isolated, and some critics say they can cost support for the protest movement. In 2002, the critics say, President Hugo Chavez may have actually picked up votes because of the street blockades.

But many protesters say the movement needs to be as visible as possible, the British network said Thursday.

"Many of us think that, yes, it is a shame that someone can't go to work because of our actions. But if we don't protest now, maybe in 10 years that person won't have a job to go to," Laura Candent, a university student, told the BBC.

Taxi companies say many drivers are now refusing to work at night because of the burning barricades. Maduro called those who create them "fascists" and says they are responsible for the death of a man who was killed when he rode his motorcycle into barbed wire strung across a street.

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