UN urges calm and dialogue amid Venezuela unrest

Updated: 2014-02-27 11:35


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UN urges calm and dialogue amid Venezuela unrest

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters during a rally with farmers in Caracas, Feb 26, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Capriles boycotts meeting

The most prominent opposition figures declined to attend, saying Maduro was using the meeting as smokescreen to avoid tackling Venezuela's real problems.

"This cannot just be a photo op," two-time opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles told Reuters.

"Who does dialogue suit more? Nicolas, I think ... This is a government that is becoming extinct, eating itself up."

Earlier, female opposition supporters donned white clothes to march in silence from a western Caracas neighborhood to a nearby National Guard military base, carrying photographs of victims of alleged brutality by the security forces.

In a rival rally, pro-Maduro farm workers clad mostly in the bright red of the ruling Socialist Party marched in downtown Caracas under the slogan, "Sowing peace and harvesting life!"

Opposition demonstrations began at the start of the month, and mushroomed when three people were shot dead on Feb 12.

Video and photographs taken on the day showed men widely believed to be state security agents apparently firing pistols at stone-throwing student protesters clashing with police. Five intelligence agents have been detained over two of the deaths, suspected of crimes including homicide.

Maduro, who narrowly won a presidential vote in April to replace the late Hugo Chavez, accuses foreign media of working with "imperialists" abroad to project an image of chaos.

UN urges calm and dialogue amid Venezuela unrest

UN urges calm and dialogue amid Venezuela unrest

Farmers march in support of Venezuela's president

Motorcyclist rally supporting Venezuela's President Maduro