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Venezuelan opposition urges National Guard to allow peaceful protests

Staff Writer |
Venezuelan opposition members, including National Assembly leader Julio Borges, traveled to the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Guard to demand it stop the "repression" of protesters after it was revealed security forces used expired tear gas canisters.

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Borges and fellow opposition members, including National Assembly member Juan Andrés Mejía, handed over a communiqué to the Bolivarian National Guard, or GNB, in which the opposition-controlled legislature called on security forces to allow peaceful demonstrators to protest without facing intimidation or use of force from security officials.

The opposition members also said security forces are banned from using tear gas as Venezuela's Constitution prohibits the government from using weapons or toxic substances, such as tear gas, to repel peaceful protesters.

"The role of the armed forces is not to repress, but to allow the Constitution to reign in Venezuela, and therefore the country should have elections we deserve so we can have a country of freedom and not a country of violence, as we have today," Borges said outside of the GNB headquarters in Caracas' El Paraíso district on Tuesday.

Alfredo Romero, executive director of the Venezuelan Criminal Forum monitoring group, on Tuesday said that since protests began two weeks ago, security forces carried out 281 arrests.

He said 134 people remain detained, eight of whom he said are considered political prisoners.

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