Montreal's Venezuelan community protests Maduro, human rights violations
Published Saturday, February 2, 2019 11:56AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 2, 2019 8:18PM EST
Members of Montreal’s Venezuelan community gathered on Saturday to protest President Nicolas Maduro and alleged human rights violations under his rule.
On the demonstration’s Facebook page, organizers said they want to denounce human rights violations and call for free elections. It will be one of several such protests organized worldwide.
It was organized in conjunction with the city’s Nicaraguan community
The protest began at Quartier des Spectacles in the early afternoon, where several hundred people gathered despite the cold and blowing snow.
The protest comes as Maduro comes under more public and international pressure. Last week, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, saying last year’s election results had been fraudulent.
Guaido was the speaker of the National Assembly when Maduro staged elections that have been widely discredited. Under the country's constitution, in the absence of a president, the house speaker takes over.
Supporters in Montreal say Maduro's time is up.
"The only steps that we need is that Maduro understands it's over," explained Orlando Viera-Blanco. "It's over, it's time to go, and it's time to return the peace, the stability, the democracy, and the reconciliation in our country.
The United States and Canada, among other countries, have declared their support for Guaido.
Maduro still has the support of much of Venezuela’s military, which controls some of the country’s key assets, such as the state-owned oil company.
Some protestors referred to the violence that has claimed the lives of more than 40 people in recent days.
- With files from The Canadian Press