Venezuela – Activists arrested and detained by state forces

Repression and criminalisation of struggle is not socialism! Last Thursday night, 2 September, 8 comrades of the “National Committee against the criminalisation of social protest and for the liberation of social and revolutionary activists”, were arrested by the state forces of the ‘Bolivarian National Guard’

They were putting up posters in Caracas city centre in solidarity with workers’ leader, Rubén González, indigenous leader, Sabino Romero, and Williams Sanguino, a student leader, all of whom have been imprisoned for defending their fundamental right to protest. They were picked up and taken to a “secure” area, where they were held for over one hour and a half under no charges, justified only by the allegation that they were ‘disseminating political propaganda in prohibited areas’, despite the fact that their posters had been placed in publicly visible places, where there were also other posters of various social, political and commercial organisations.

The comrades immediately contacted the various networks, organisations, movements and collectives which support the campaign, to alert them to the situation, and of the possibility of more serious such actions by the state forces.

All organisations contacted were put on alert and vigilantly monitored the situation, which ended with the 8 comrades being freed, after their details were recorded, with no justification given.

This action was nothing more than a test in repression and intimidation of the independent social, popular and revolutionary movements, who try to raise their voices in protest against what is taking place in the name of the “Bolivarian Revolution”, where the authorities have adopted force as a method of resolving social and political conflicts; criminalise social protest and arrest leading activists.

Of the eight comrades arrested, two – Johan Rivas and Joseph Alvarado – were members of Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela). We reject and repudiate every attempt at intimidation and repression against the popular and revolutionary movement.

We demand:
– The voice of the people and the working class will not be silenced! Repression and criminalisation of struggle is not socialism!
– Freedom for all prisoners from the social, popular and revolutionary movements, locked up for defending their rights!
– No more criminalisation of social protest!
– An end to the impunity of the bureaucrats! For democratic control of the judiciary!
– For the building of a revolutionary, democratic socialist alternative!

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