January 24, 2019 / 10:12 AM / a month ago

EU says Venezuelan protests 'cannot be ignored', calls for Guaido's safety

A National Police officer fires rubber bullets during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union called on Thursday for Venezuela authorities to respect the “civil rights, freedom and safety” of congress chief Juan Guaido but stopped short of following Washington and recognizing him as interim president.

“On 23 January, the people of Venezuela have massively called for democracy and the possibility to freely determine their own destiny. These voices cannot be ignored,” the 28 countries of the bloc said in a joint statement.

“The Venezuelan people have the right to peacefully demonstrate, to freely choose its leaders and decide its future,” the EU statement said.

Reporting by Robin Emmott

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