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Venezuelan opposition protests Supreme Court protest ban

By Andrew V. Pestano
Henrique Capriles Radonski, governor of Venezuela's Miranda state and a key opposition leader, spoke to a large crowd in Caracas on Wednesday as part of a protest aimed to show discord with a Supreme Court decision that banned protests near the country's electoral council. Photo courtesy of RevocaloYA
Henrique Capriles Radonski, governor of Venezuela's Miranda state and a key opposition leader, spoke to a large crowd in Caracas on Wednesday as part of a protest aimed to show discord with a Supreme Court decision that banned protests near the country's electoral council. Photo courtesy of RevocaloYA

CARACAS, Venezuela, May 26 (UPI) -- The Venezuelan opposition on Wednesday protested against a Supreme Court decision that banned protests near the offices of the National Electoral Council.

Venezuela's high court, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, recently banned demonstrations defined as "unauthorized acts, marches, protests, gatherings," as well as "violent demonstrations" near the offices of the electoral council, known as the CNE.

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The Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, opposition coalition in the past month has led protests nationwide demanding the CNE comply with the opposition's efforts to initiate a recall referendum on President Nicolas Maduro.

"The first thing I want to tell the whole country is that there's no ruling, measure or anything that's going to keep us from going to the National Elections Council to demand respect for ... the constitution," Henrique Capriles, governor of Venezuela's Miranda state and a key opposition leader who almost defeated Maduro in a 2013 election, said during the protest.

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The MUD in late April complied with the electoral council's requirement to gather signatures to proceed with the recall effort. The MUD collected more than 1 million signatures out of the nearly 200,000 that were needed.

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After completing the first phase of the petition process, the opposition is waiting for the CNE to provide the necessary documents to move ahead with the final phase. The MUD will need to collect signatures from 20 percent, or about 4 million, of the South American country's voting-eligible population within three days.

"They believe that they annulled a constitutional right! They wont be able! More Venezuelans will unite!" Capriles added.

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MUD leader Jesus "Chuo" Torrealba on Wednesday said Venezuela's problems will "not be solved with court rulings."

"What's happening in Venezuela is too serious, you don't solve hunger simply with court rulings, the lack of medicine is not solved with court rulings, the people's resentment over the low lives murdering Venezuelans is not solved with court rulings that limit protests," Torrealba said.

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