By Senabri Silvestre
SANTO DOMINGO, Dom. Rep. (AA) – Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on Tuesday demanding the validation of more than 1.8 million signatures seeking a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.
Security guards and polices dispersed the demonstration with tear gas and rubber bullets when the crowd headed toward the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE), the agency charged with confirming the signatures by June 2.
The opposition alliance, Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), said the electoral body has five times delayed a meeting in which it would recognize the order that was delivered May 2.
"People who signed and who is willing to validate, vote and revoke is on the street, active, organized and ready to defend his signature", MUD said in a statement.
To activate a recall referendum is the only peaceful solution to the serious crisis plaguing the country, according to the group.
Henrique Capriles, opposition leader and former presidential candidate, said the CNE has taken more than one month to review 1 percent of the signatures required as a preliminary step to call a referendum, when the law required the results has to be announced in five days.
"The fight for a referendum seeks a democratic solution to the crisis lived by the majority of Venezuelans people. It’s more that taking out Maduro," Capriles wrote on Twitter.
MUD needed 200,000 signatures begin the recall process but was able to secure 2.5 million rubrics and presented 1.8 million names.
After the march, Capriles said he met with members of the CNE, who promised to deliver results between June 15 and 21.
The opposition intends to shorten Mauduro’s term, accusing him of provoking the economic crisis plaguing the country.
Maduro has said the current situation in Venezuela is a coup attempt by the U.S. and its allies.