Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro declared in a speech to loyalists of his regime that he would arm thousands of his supporters as massive protests and riots occur across the country.
According to Fox News, opposition to Maduro’s administration are reaching a boiling point, and in response the Venezuelan president told uniformed militia members outside his palace that there would be a “gun for every militiaman.” The Bolivarian militias that were created during the reign of Hugo Chavez will be armed by the Venezuelan government, were some 100,000 in attendance, but loyalists are estimated to number somewhere around 400,000.
Maduro makes this announcement after years of campaigning to have Venezuelan civilians stripped of their firearms.
The protests and riots are a result of Maduro’s abuse of goverment power causing Venezuela’s economy to crash, leading to massive shortages of food, medicine, and everyday necessities.
Maduro holds that this is not his fault, however, but the fault of foreign backed opposition leaders. It’s a message that Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, is echoing.
“The excessive ambition of [our] enemies threatens the peace and stability by carrying out a criminal agenda loaded with hate that includes terrorist acts, disturbances, looting, vandalism, different forms of violence against innocent people and public health facilities,” Padrino said.
Violence has been a common occurrence during these protests, it is said that pro-government forces are violently attacking demonstrators, and using tear gas against them.
Six people have already died during the protests, including one 17-year-old boy who was shot in the head. Reportedly, many journalists have been attacked as well.