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Startseite Urgent Actions 2014 02 Opposition party headquarters raided
UA 033/14
Abgeschlossen am 1. April 2014

Opposition party headquarters raided

AI-Index: AMR 53/004/2014

The headquarters of opposition party Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) were raided three times by security forces on 17 February. The raids appear to be an attempt to intimidate party members following their participation in recent anti-government protests.

Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) has denounced how officials of the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the National Guard entered their headquarters on three occasions on 17 February without producing a search warrant. Party members claim the officials were armed and broke into their offices without identifying themselves, causing damage to private property and intimidating their staff. They reported that the military seized the office’s security cameras, servers and other computer equipment. The officials also took with them Leonardo José Contreras, the bodyguard of David Smolansky, Mayor of El Hatillo municipality in Caracas, the capital.

Voluntad Popular believes that the security forces intended to detain Carlos Vecchio, national political coordinator of the party, who earlier that day gave a press conference confirming a call for a mass anti-government demonstration on 18 February. The demonstration was initially called by Leopoldo Lopez, leader of Voluntad Popular, who according to reports had an arrest warrant issued against him on 13 February for his alleged responsibility for violence that occurred during and after student demonstrations in the last two weeks.

During these recent protests three people were killed in Caracas, the capital, and scores were injured nationwide following clashes between the protesters, security forces and armed civilians.


Amnesty International has welcomed the message of non-violence sent by both the President of the Republic and opposition leaders ahead of the mass mobilization planned for 18 February. This is especially relevant following violent outbreaks that occurred during and after pro and anti-government demonstrations on 12 February to mark Venezuelan’s Day of Youth, where three people were killed in Caracas, the capital, and scores were injured nationwide. Since 4 February several student demonstrations took place across Venezuela, during which there has been reported human rights violations and abuses.

Reports were received of excessive use of force by the security forces, including the use of fire arms, as well as clashes between protesters and security forces and violence against protesters by armed civilians, allegedly perpetrated with the consent of the security forces. For more information, see UA 29/14, Three protestors killed, others injured (

Amnesty International has been calling on the demonstrators to exercise their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association in a peaceful manner and it is urging the authorities to ensure that everyone can participate in protests without fear of being abused, detained or even killed.

The authorities must ensure that incidents occurring during pro and anti-government demonstrations in recent weeks do not go unpunished and will be investigated in a thorough and impartial manner regardless of the political ideologies of those in question.

Name: members of Voluntad Popular

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