Venezuela's President Carlos Andres Perez on Thursday (5 May) returned from his two-week tour of Middle East oil states and his mission to try to put an end to the disagreement between OPEC countries over oil prices.
Venezuela's President Carlos Andres Perez on Thursday (5 May) returned from his two-week tour of Middle East oil states and his mission to try to put an end to the disagreement between OPEC countries over oil prices. He met a friendly demonstration by some of Venezuela's Arab residents, but elsewhere in the capital, Caracas, there were violent clashes between students and police.
SYNOPSIS: Talks are still continuing between oil producing states in the wake of the mission by President Perez, who was met by Octavio Lepage, who deputised for Senor Perez in his absence. The President had hoped to end the split caused when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates raised oil prices by five per cent, while the remaining nine OPEC countries increased their prices 10 per cent.
The Arab communities of Venezuela showed their approval of the president's Middle East mission by greeting him outside the airport with banners of encouragement.
But elsewhere in Caracas trouble was brewing. In defiance of a government ban on demonstrations, students at the Central University went out in protest against a claim of shortage of funds for the university, leading to a possible close-down. A policewoman hit on the face by a stone was one of the ten police and students injured in the clash, which lasted two hours.
Riot police fired tear gas, and the students replied by returning the gas canisters and throwing stones. Trouble has been simmering for months. Students at the university called a national strike in January when they claimed that government policy was keeping 43,000 potential students out of university. They were also angry at the recent deaths of two students in prison.
The police weren't hesitant in using their batons and shields to subdue students unfortunate enough to fall into their hands.
A broken car windscreen and a street littered with debris were the only outward results of this protest, however.