14-yr-old Venezuelan killed during anti-government protest
San Cristobal (Venezuela): A 14-year-old boy has died after being shot in the head during an anti- government protest in Venezuela’s restive western region.
Preliminary investigations suggest the student was injured during a confrontation between police and protesters in the city, and died on the way to the hospital yesterday, according to San Cristobal Human Rights Commission President Jose Vicente Garcia.
A photo and video of the student lying in a pool of blood, his backpack hanging over his shoulder, as a man frantically tries to staunch the bleeding rocketed around social media.
One of the more radical opposition parties in the socialist South American country immediately called for a gathering in the capital tomorrow to demand an investigation into the cases of students who have died at the hands of the government.
Residents of the university town near the Colombian border known for its tendency toward protests were outraged.
“How are you going shoot point blank at a student who’s just leaving school to go home?” asked Glenda Lugo. “We’re tired of this injustice.”
Ruling party officials swiftly condemned the killing and offered condolences to the family.
Interior Relations Minister Carmen Melendez pledged that the government would pursue Roa’s killer “relentlessly,” and said in a televised interview that a member of the national police had already confessed to culpability in the case.
The attorney general’s office said 23-year-old Javier Mora Ortiz will be charged in connection with the teen’s death in the coming hours.
She repeatedly called for general peace and tranquility. But what had started as a small demonstration was swelling into a larger protest as night fell in San Cristobal, with shops closing their doors and public transportation stopping routes in anticipation of unrest. Some schools announced that classes would be canceled today.
Venezuelan ombudsman Tarek William Saab, a federal official charged with defending human rights, said on Twitter that he deplored the “vile assassination” of the teen, who he named as Kluiverth Roa, though other officials spelled his first name differently.