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Venezuelan Protesters Replace Judas With Maduro and Burn Him at Easter

Both anti- and pro-government demonstrators swapped the traditional burning Judas effigy for likenesses of political leaders in Venezuela.

by Olivia Becker
Apr 21 2014, 6:20pm

Photo via Reuters

It is local tradition in Venezuela to burn effigies of Judas on Easter Sunday, but this year protesters decided to take a different spin on the annual ritual.

Anti-government demonstrators burned representations of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro instead, as a highly symbolic way of expressing their hostility toward the country’s current leader. Supporters of the government countered by setting fire to representations of members of Maduro’s political opposition, such as the jailed leader Leopoldo Lopez.

Source: El Paraiso Activo

Hundreds of protesters marched in Caracas on Sunday in a demonstration dubbed the “Resurrection of Democracy,” where they burned puppets, pictures, and sculptures of Maduro and other government officials in the central squares and streets of the Venezuelan capital.

The protests took place after the annual Easter “Via Crucis” celebration, where Venezuelan Christians march barefoot through cities and towns across the country, imitating Jesus’s march towards crucifixion.

Leaders of the opposition used the hashtags #ProtestaSanta (Holy protest) and #QuemaTuJudas (Burn your Judas) to organize the demonstrations.

Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is one of the most reviled figures in Christianity. Replacing his likeness with political figures demonstrates just how much contempt either side holds for each other in Venezuela.

Leaders of the opposition used the hashtags #ProtestaSanta (Holy protest) and #QuemaTuJudas (Burn your Judas) to organize the demonstrations over the weekend.

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Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks, burned tires, and erected barricades in major roads in Caracas. Police responded with tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Protesters who were carrying a massive Venezuelan flag and setting fire to tires also successfully shut down the Prados del Este highway, a major thoroughfare in Caracas, on Monday morning.

The anti-government demonstrations, which began in early February and have since resulted in the deaths of 41 people, are driven primarily by widespread public and social discontent. Corruption, in particular among the police, is endemic in Venezuela. The country also faces a massive debt, unemployment, and severe shortages of basic goods such as a paper and flour.

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Maduro’s government has engaged in a massive crackdown on opposition leaders and demonstrators, who include students, union workers, and the unemployed.

Although the protests have received widespread international media attention, and opposition leaders continue to actively plan demonstrations, Maduro does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Venezuelan police and security forces remain steadfastly behind Maduro as the numbers of those in the streets have dwindled since the height of the protests in February.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928