Thieves carried furniture and appliances from stores in the capital Tuesday, a day after the worst street violence in Venezuela in 30 years. Police estimated 25 people were killed in Caracas alone and more than 1,000 arrested.
The looting and rioting, triggered by bus fare increases, began Monday and spread to at least seven cities and towns. It continued into the early morning hours Tuesdy in downtown Caracas, where sirens wailed as authorities put out fires and battled looters in streets filled with shattered glass.Independent reports estimated damage nationwide to be in the millions of dollars. On some Caracas streets, virtually every store was looted.
"It is a popular uprising. There are riots everywhere. They are all furious," said Metropolitan Police Inspector Jose Lara Montilla, who commanded a unit armed with shotguns.
"All police forces are in a state of emergency. . . . I cannot give you exact figures, but around 25 people have died and no one knows how many injured," another police official said Tuesday morning.
"Hospitals can no longer cope . . . people just keep coming and coming," said the police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The figures were for Caracas and outlying areas, he said.
A woman caught in the crossfire Monday as she tried to get home complained the looters were criminals taking advantage of what started out as a protest.
"They're just criminals, robbing, burning. I've never seen anything this bad," she said, crying.
Fires in poor neighborhoods in the hills on the outskirts of the city burned through the evening.