Report: Protests in Venezuela up 24 percent; most over food

CARACAS, Venezuela, July 14 (UPI) — There has been a 24 percent increase in protests — roughly 19 demonstrations a day — throughout Venezuela in which six people have died in the first half of 2016 when compared to last year, according to a report by the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict.

The local non-governmental organization on Wednesday reported 3,057 protests have been recorded in Venezuela within the first six months of 2016. The figure does not include 416 incidents of looting or attempted looting nationwide.

About 27 percent of protests in the first part of 2016 were related to food shortages. The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, or OVCS, said the six deaths occurred during protests over food.

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“In these six months the Venezuelan streets have been the scene of many massive demonstrations to demand the human right to food,” the OVCS writes in the report. “The government’s response to these protests has been repression.”

About 24 percent of protests were to “demand basic services in residential dwellings,” the OVCS said. Water shortages, electricity blackouts, and little to no Internet or phone services have affected millions of Venezuelans.

Eighteen percent of protests were held over labor rights, while 15 percent of protests were held over crime. Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world, which is estimated to be up to one killing for every 28,000 people.

About 10 percent of protests were related to politics while 6 percent were related to education rights.

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In 2014, at least 43 people were killed during protests against the country’s rise in crime, shortages in stores and triple-digit inflation.

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