Photo: Francisco Bruzco, Cronica.uno

Dive into the fever swamp of the government’s propaganda machine, and the story you hear about protesters is relentless: a constantly recycled drum-beat about a fascist, terrorist far-right fringe hellbent on violence and destruction. And indeed, most protests over the last ten days have indeed involved considerable violence and mayhem — what you’d expect, when your instant reaction to anybody opposing you is to rough them up.

Protests turn violent when they are repressed. They turn violent because they are repressed. No repression, no violence. It really is straightforward. 

But on Thursday, something weird happened: the opposition called a march outside its comfort zone. Gathering in Montalban, in Caracas’s traditionally pro-government West side, thousands of people marched up to El Paraiso behind a gaggle of high profile opposition leaders. For whatever reason, the cops didn’t show up. Neither did the National Guard. Nobody tear-gassed anyone. It was weird.

The result? A perfectly calm march where nobody got hurt, nothing got looted, and thousands upon thousands of ultra-violent fascist terrorists just marched in peace under the rain and then went home. Like I said, bizarre.

Look, the government’s propaganda lines have been so radically divorced from anything like recognizable reality for so long, it can feel silly to note it: but Thursday’s West Side march was like a laboratory refutation of government propaganda.

Protests turn violent when they are repressed. They turn violent because they are repressed. No repression, no violence. It really is straightforward.

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