Venezuelan authorities charged jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez for inciting violence, arson, damage to property and conspiracy. The charges emanate from series protests that have rocked Caracas and other major cities for the past three month.
Mr Lopez, a Harvard educated economist is seen as the force behind the protesters who are predominantly students and college graduates. Protesters accuse President Nicolas Maduro of economic mismanagement, high unemployment among the youth and his inability to curb the high crime rate in the country.
Leading opposition members have accused Maduro of using the country’s oil revenue to prop up his support base by executing largely welfare policies.About 39 people have died since the protests began and scores have been injured.
President Maduro sees the protests as a foreign back subversion and has vowed to cramp down on individuals found to be part of that conspiracy.