Caracas, Venezuela, Feb 23, 2017 / 00:02 am
After speaking against alleged government misconduct, human rights abuses and delay of free elections, Catholic churches and clergy around Venezuela are facing a wave of protests from pro-government supporters.
A string of incidents began on the morning of Jan. 29, as supporters of the current government interrupted a Mass at San Pedro Claver Church in a poor neighborhood of Caracas, Reuters reported.
The crowd of around 20 people hurled insults at the clergy, calling them "Satan in a cassock!" and "Fascist!" The protesters also used the chant "Chavez lives!" – in honor of late president and former leader of the ruling Socialist party, Hugo Chavez.
After the death of the socialist leader from cancer in 2013 and his succession by current Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, the country has faced both increases in violence and a number of social and political challenges, including the delay of the country's regional elections.