Massive crowds

The pictures Venezuela’s government doesn’t want people to see

February 18, 2014
February 18, 2014

Yesterday, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, whom the government has blamed for the recent protests, promised to turn himself in under one condition: that the protests continue in Caracas today.

This morning, tens of thousands of people obliged. Twitter has been flooded with aerial pictures of the mass protests—many of which Venezuela’s government seems to prefer no one see, as it blocked some of them from appearing for a time, according to the company.

Not all of the protestors are in Caracas. Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second-largest city, has seen its streets fill up, too.

In response, López made good on his promise. Shortly after midday, when protestors had already filled streets and plazas all across Venezuela, he turned himself in to the country’s national guard. Here, López is pictured while being escorted.

The protests, which first began as much smaller-scale student rallies, have ballooned and are still picking up in momentum. The government’s response has been swift, and, at times, scary. As many as four deaths have already been reported, three US diplomats have been expelled, and heavily armed guards are stationed all across Caracas. While it remains to be seen how protestors will respond to the imprisonment of their leader, some believe it could be the start of something much bigger. “I think I know the breaking point for the avalanche. It’s the jailing of Leopoldo López,” Roberto Torres, a local reporter, told Quartz.

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