Peaceful protest brings awareness to Venezuelan violence

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The country of Venezuela has been grabbing attention this week as protests spill into the streets. On Saturday, February 22nd, Wisconsinites with Venezuelan roots stood in solidarity with the country as they asked the world to pay attention.

The crowd of peaceful protesters in downtown Milwaukee hoped their message could bring awareness to the situation and show support across the world.

"If the youth of my country, the 17-year-old kids with backpacks and books as weapons, are willing to give their lives outside for my country, the least that we can do as Venezuelans, as a part of the world that we belong to, is come and show support," said event organizers Alejandro Fuentes.

Violence in Venezuela has sprouted from protests, leaving many of Saturday's demonstrators concerned for the safety of their family and friends.

"My Facebook is full of blood right now. I can only imagine how are the streets of my country," said Fuentes. "I have messages from personal friends telling us 'Alex, they are killing us right now. They are shooting at us. They are killing us. They just killed the person that is by me.'"

The group came from across Wisconsin to draw attention to Venezuela's plight and help force international action.

"The human rights in Venezuela are being violated and we want the world to know that," said Yolibeth Fitzgibbon.

Social media keeps many connected to loved ones and helps monitor the ongoing situation. Demonstrators hope their Venezuelan friends and family can log on to see the crowd of supporters standing with them.

"They are going to see this news in Facebook and everywhere. They get a lot of encouragement to keep fighting because they know that outside their country there is people also fighting for them," said Fuentes.