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Venezuela protesters rally at Colorado Capitol steps

4:21 PM, Feb 22, 2014   |    comments
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(Credit: Nidal Allis)

DENVER - Protesters held a peaceful rally at the Colorado State Capitol steps Saturday to draw attention to the violence and unrest in Venezuela.

Protest organizers Sue Ruiz-Montoya and Kate Gutierrez said they expect as many as 200 people to attend the rally. Most of them have ties to the country.

Maria Carrion-Kozak was born in Venezuela and still has family there now, including her sister. She has been sending her pictures of what is going on in the city where she grew up.

"It's an area that is very nice, kind of middle class, and the military has been going into buildings, burning buildings, burning cars, attacking the people, " Carrion-Kozak said.

They believe the clashes between Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's socialist regime and opposition groups merits international attention. They say it's not getting that attention because of efforts by the government to hide what is happening.

"They have been shutting down all the radio station, the TV stations," Carrion-Kozak said. "CNN, for example, was there trying to film and they got their cameras taken away. "

She says the government is also shutting down social media accounts and blocking internet access in some places.

Large rallies by opposition groups have been held throughout the country since protests began Feb. 12.

The political turmoil has resulted in eight deaths and more than 100 injuries.

"One of niece's friends, I saw her picture on Facebook. She sent me the picture of a bullet that hit her in the leg. This is happening in a country that used to be just like where we live now, Denver, Colorado," said Carrion-Kozak. 

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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