Protests as Venezuela embraces 2-day workweek to save power

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan cities cleaned up from a night of looting and fiery protests Wednesday as government offices closed their doors for the rest of the week in the face of a worsening energy crisis that is causing daily blackouts.

In Caracas, hundreds of angry voters lined up to sign a petition beginning the process of recalling the deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro.

The socialist administration began imposing a four-hour daily blackout around the country this week to save electricity. Then, Maduro announced that millions of officials will now work only Mondays and Tuesdays, taking the rest of the week off in a bid to save electricity.

Angry residents in darkened towns around the country took to the streets Tuesday night, setting up flaming barricades and raiding shops for bread and other scarce food.

On Wednesday, more than 1,000 police fanned out around the western city of Maracaibo after a night of riots. More than 100 people were arrested there for looting that damaged dozens of businesses, according to local governor Francisco Arias, who supports the Maduro government. Venezuela is among the world’s most violent countries, and crime generally spikes here when the lights go out.

Maduro condemned the night of protests, and said his political enemies were trying to sow chaos and sabotage him.

“The crazy right wing doesn’t understand that in hard

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/protests-as-venezuela-embraces-2-day-workweek-to-save-power/2016/04/27/4708aef8-0cc4-11e6-bc53-db634ca94a2a_story.html

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