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Massive opposition march demands freedom for Venezuela political detainees


Caracas, Feb 22 (EFE).- Leaders of the Venezuelan opposition and students' representatives led a massive opposition demonstration in Caracas and announced a list of demands for the government that includes freedom for political detainees and penalties for those guilty of attacking the marches.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, governor of Miranda state, led a march during which he again denounced violence, called on people not to protest at night or block the streets, while at the same time demanding that the government rectify its actions and release political leader Leopoldo Lopez from jail.

Capriles, preceded by other opposition members including lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma, Lara Gov. Henry Falcon, as well as university spokespersons, read a list of demands together with student leader Juan Requesens.

"We want freedom for all students in detention, we want amnesty for all students on trial," Capriles said.

The list also demanded the release of Lopez, held in a military prison since last Tuesday accused of several crimes related to the marches.

Also on the list is a request for "humanitarian measures and freedom" for police commissioner Ivan Simonovis, sentenced for deaths that occurred during the failed 2002 coup in Venezuela against Hugo Chavez.

It also asks for "an end to the persecution" and that those "in exile" be allowed to return to Venezuela.

A key point was the demand for the immediate disarming of paramilitary groups.

Up to now the protest marches and the government's reaction to them have left 10 dead, 130 injured and dozens in custody.