Nearly 200 stage protest outside White House over seizure of Venezuelan embassy

WASHINGTON, May 19: Around 200 people gathered outside White House in Washington to protest the US government’s seizure of the Venezuelan embassy and the arrest of four activists who resided in the diplomatic facility as guests of the Venezuelan government.
The protesters initially gathered in front of the Venezuelan embassy and then marched on the White House, where several speakers reiterated the US government’s actions to breach the embassy of a sovereign nation are in violation of international law and represent a dangerous precedent that puts at risk all diplomatic facilities worldwide, including those of the United States.
“We are here today in front the White House, where we marched from the Venezuelan embassy, to let Donald Trump ? and [self-proclaimed interim President] Juan Guaido know that we are not giving up this fight,” Adrienne Pine, one of the four arrested activists who were freed of Friday, told Russian news agency Sputnik adding “We may not be able to be in the embassy as we have a stay away order for 100 feet. But we will continue fighting with all our solidarity, strength and love to ensure that the United States does not carry yet another coup in Latin America.”
Some 20 Metropolitan Police officers in uniform and several in plain clothes were present at the Venezuelan embassy, which remains to be sealed off with double metal barricades. The police blocked off traffic for the marchers to proceed to the White House.
US Law enforcement officials had raided the building on Thursday and arrested four demonstrators, paving the way for the diplomatic compound to be handed to the US envoy of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by the United States.
The march was peaceful at all times with a minor exception of an attempt by Venezuelan opposition supporters’ to disrupt some of the marchers who were providing flyers to the public at Washington Circle.
Demonstrators had been occupying the building in an upscale Georgetown neighborhood since mid-April, saying they consider Nicolas Maduro the legitimate president of Venezuela. The US government had also ordered all Venezuelan diplomatic personnel to leave by April 24.
At the start of the protest, more than 30 activists were living inside the embassy, but their numbers gradually dwindled after police threatened to remove them, local media reported.
Kevin Zeese, another arrested activist who was freed on Friday said that while the internal protection of the embassy has ended, the campaign to stop the US coup in Venezuela and stop US imperialism more broadly has only just begun.
“You will see tremendous escalation in this movement and growth of this movement,” Zeese said. “By the fall, this will be an issue that no one can avoid, no one can be on the wrong side of. Anyone running for office will have to say no to the US coup and no to US imperialism.” he added.
On Friday, a US judge ordered the release of the four activists on the condition that they do not approach within 100 feet Venezuela’s diplomatic facilities, report to the court weekly and do not travel abroad without permission.
A US State Department spokesperson said the government of Guaido, whom the United States recognises as the leader of Venezuela, asked for US help in removing the demonstrators from the embassy.
(UNI)