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Police prevent Caracas march by Guaido supporters

Caracas, Mar 19 (EFE).- Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police on Tuesday prevented public workers supporting the head of Parliament, Juan Guaido, as interim president from marching to the legislative seat to demand that lawmakers approve a bill to “protect” workers who “defend” democracy.

Plans were for the march to head along a west-central Caracas avenue to Parliament, but the workers could not even gather at the staging area, Morelos Square, because it had been cordoned off by police.

A workers committee, however, did manage to get to the legislature and delivered a document demanding that the bill they have dubbed the “labor guarantee law” be approved by lawmakers.

La Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB), vigila el lugar en donde manifestantes realizarían una marcha de trabajadores públicos este martes en caracas (Venezuela). La PNB impidió este martes a los trabajadores públicos de Venezuela que respaldan al jefe del Parlamento, Juan Guaidó, marchar hasta la sede del Legislativo, al que exigen aprobar una ley para la “protección” de los empleados que “defiendan” la democracia. EFE

The bill provides “protection for all workers who at some time go out to defend democracy, … to defend the institutions,” the general secretary of the Venezuelan Workers Confederation (CTV), Jose Elias Torres, told reporters.

He also said that the bill seeks to protect the rights of workers against the possibility that the state might try to fire them “due to political discrimination.”

The workers are also demanding that Parliament designate who was responsible for the massive power blackout the country suffered 11 days ago and that lawmakers debate whether there is any basis for calling for an international trial.

In addition, they urged the legislature to demand that the commission sent to Venezuela by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights meet with the workers.

Among the workers who had been intending to march were workers at the state-run Corpoelec electricity company, the Cantv communications station, the Foreign Ministry, the Social Security administration, the petroleum and university sectors.

On Monday, several union organizations, including the CTV, convened the demonstration and a protest against the ongoing national crisis after meeting with Guaido, who proclaimed himself the country’s interim president on Jan. 23 and has been recognized by some 50 countries as Venezuela’s leader.

The union members expressed their support for Guaido in his power struggle against elected President Nicolas Maduro.

However, they noted on Tuesday that, just as they are demonstrating their support for him, they will also demand that he defend the rights of workers that, they say, have been violated by the Maduro regime.

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