Feb. 25 - Anti-government demonstrators put up barricades in Caracas, despite calls from the opposition to rein in protests that have led to 13 deaths. Sarah Toms reports.
Anti-government protesters in the Venezuelan capital burn rubbish and put up barricades. Access to the main avenues has been barred and traffic has slowed to a crawl. These blockades are the latest in a series of opposition protests in which 13 people have died. Demonstrators say they'll continue with their protests, until President Nicolas Maduro resigns. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles is also demanding the government release protest leader Leopoldo Lopez and about a dozen student demonstrators, imprisoned on charges of inciting violence. He spurned an invitation to meet the president for talks. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, POLITICAL OPPOSITION LEADER, INSIDE A PRESS CIRCLE, SAYING: "I am not going to a meeting with the federal council to help him save face. I'm not going to be like the orchestra on the Titanic. I am not the musician, the boat is sinking, and I am the one who is playing the music? No sir, Nicolas, you are not going to use me." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HENRIQUE CAPRILES, POLITICAL OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING: "This is a dying government you are looking at, and outside the country they call this a genocide. As we said Saturday, an error in history." Many hoped the meeting would open up communication between both sides. Instead Maduro talked of Capriles' absence. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO SAYING: "I would have liked for (Henrique) Capriles Radonsky to attend, to have been sitting right over there. He wanted to speak for an hour on a national newscast. It's difficult, he would have to win the presidency some day if he wants to speak for an hour on a national newscast. He could have come here and have spoken like you all did, nice and calm. I would have listened and would have noted everything. I lament that he did not come to today's meeting." It's been two weeks since these protests started because of high crime and economic woes...parts of Caracus have ground to a halt and until a dialogue is opened there are no signs of it letting up.