Women took to the streeks of Caracas on April 27, demanding an end to violent opposition protests, Venezuelanalysis.com said that day. The rally was supported by dozens of women’s groups from across the country, after being called by the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Blanca Eekhout.
“Sisters, let's go together to fill the streets with love in the defence of life,” Eekhout said ahead of the march. She added, “We will overcome!”
Speaking to AVN, rally goer Mirian Lopez said she hoped to send a message to the country’s opposition: end the violence. “We Chavista women, we love our country, we meet here to reaffirm our commitment to the revolution and in defence of the peace of our people, and we strongly reject the violence generated in recent days by violent right-wing groups,” she said.
The day before, TeleSUR English reported that students from all across Venezuela gathered in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas on April 26 for a march in support of the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The march called for peace and dialogue, and rejected the violence that has broken out in demonstrations led by the right-wing opposition in recent weeks.
Under the banner “In favour of peace and against violence,” the demonstration brought together socialist youth supporting the educational achievements of Maduro’s government.
The protests have come as violent right-wing demonstrations and riots have left at least 32 people dead nationwide in the past month, according to data compiled by Venezuelanalysis.com. Nine of the deaths are believed to have been caused by violent anti-government groups, five have been attributed to the actions of state security forces, while the rest were accidents or took place under unclear circumstances.
The unrest began after a controversial, now overturned Supreme Court decision, which the country’s opposition labelled a power grab by leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro’s government has hit back by accusing the opposition of working to destabilise Venezuela. Maduro has called for a broad dialogue, which the opposition has rejected, instead demanding his removal from office.
At the April 27 rally, Ingrid Espinoza from the women’s union Unamujer condemned the recent spate of violence, and urged for national unity.
“The message that we send to all the people of Venezuela today is the call to peace, coexistence and unification of all the people and reject all those who want to harm our country,” she said.
Another organisation represented at the march was the Fundacion Mision Mujer Hipolita, a government sponsored body that aids the homeless. An organiser from the mission, Yolimar Leal, told teleSUR she supported Maduro because he represents the socialist revolution started under his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Leal argued the revolution has empowered Venezuelan women, and transformed old gender norms.
“Women do not only give birth to leaders. We are the leaders,” she said.
Leal continued, “We have always been part of the revolution for freedom, and we will continue to be.”