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Venezuelan bishops demand due process for anti-government protesters

Catholic World News - February 18, 2014

The Catholic bishops of Venezuela have issued a call for “respect and the protection of human rights” as street protests have escalated, bringing the country to the brink of a political crisis.

Several anti-government protesters have been killed in clashes with police, and the government of President Nicolas Maduro has been accused of violating due process with dozens of peremptory arrests. On February 18 the arrest of the country’s most prominent opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, triggered a new round of angry demonstrations.

Bishop Diego Padron, the president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, urged the government to ensure protection for the demonstrators, to provide explanations for the arrests and list charges against those in custody, and to “listen to the people” who have risked violence to protest the government’s policies.

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