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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

From Tampa to Miami, thousands join anti-government protests in Venezuela

Anti-Venezuelan government demostrators in Tampa on Saturday

Amy Hollyfield | Times

Anti-Venezuelan government demostrators in Tampa on Saturday

22

February

With anti-government protests and violence rising in Venezuela, a couple hundred people took the streets in Tampa on Saturday to show solidarity, while a much larger crowd gathered in Doral.

This crowd was seen Saturday afternoon at the east side of Dale Mabry just south of Raymond James stadium. Many carried signs -- "free Venezuela" -- and flags.

Florida has a largest population of Venezuelan-born residents in the country and thousands joined in protest in Doral on Saturday. "Waving Venezuelan flags and carrying signs seeking help for their homeland, many gathered at J.C. Bermudez Park in Doral blamed President Nicolás Maduro for high crime, food shortages and lack of freedom -- among other issues. They also called on the international community to take action," the Miami Herald reported.

In Caracas Saturday hundreds of thousands of supporters and opponents of Venezuela's government took to the streets, reported the news agency AFP.

From AFP: The protests -- which began on February 2 -- are seen as the biggest test to Maduro since he succeeded Chavez last year. They kicked off in the western city of San Cristobal led by students angry over the soaring crime rate. However, they quickly spread to Caracas and other major cities, and have intensified over the past two weeks. They have also been accompanied by violence and attempts to intimidate protesters.

[Last modified: Saturday, February 22, 2014 5:17pm]

    

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