Power Still Flickering, Venezuelans Take to Streets for Rival Protests

Power Still Flickering, Venezuelans Take to Streets for Rival Protests

CARACAS — Venezuelan authorities struggled to restore power on Saturday, the third day of the country’s most extensive blackout in recent memory, while opposition and pro-government demonstrators gathered for rival marches under a heavy military presence.

Power was intermittent in the capital, Caracas, and remained off in large portions of the country’s west. State utility workers say it will take days to fully restore the national grid.

In Caracas, residents lined up outside food stores and gasoline stations to try to restock supplies and fuel, and security forces dispersed at least one group of opposition supporters who tried to protest the blackout.

The nationwide power failure has intensified pressure on President Nicolás Maduro, who has yet to appear in public since a problem at Venezuela’s main hydropower plant on Thursday afternoon plunged the country into darkness. Backup generators at upmarket hotels, which have become sanctuaries for Caracas’s affluent, began running out of fuel by Saturday.

But deprivation was on the minds of opposition protesters on Saturday. “With my wage I can only buy a kilogram of meat, a carton of eggs and some detergent to wash my clothes,” said Luis Bravo, a Caracas university professor.

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