Venezuelan foreign minister says opposition behind children's hospital attack

    21 de abril de 2017

    Caracas, April 21 (efe-epa).- Venezuela's foreign minister on Friday accused the opposition of hiring armed gangs to attack a maternity and children's hospital in the El Valle neighborhood of Caracas, where clashes between protesters and security forces took place Thursday night.

    "Armed gangs hired by the opposition attacked a maternity hospital with 54 children," Delcy Rodriguez claimed in a tweet.

    She added in another message that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gave orders to evacuate the hospital to protect children and newborns.

    Rodriguez also said the small group of governments that have expressed their public support to the Venezuelan opposition has encouraged vandalism and violence.

    Several violent incidents were reported from the El Valle neighborhood in Libertador municipality where the hospital is located, according to local media reports.

    Bolivarian National Police and the Bolivarian National Guard used tear gas to disperse the protesting crowds.

    Opposition legislator Jose Manuel Olivares tweeted that children in El Valle Maternity and Children's Hospital were badly affected by the tear gas.

    Opposition parliamentarian Jose Guerra, representative of the electoral circuit of Caracas, warned on Twitter of looting attempts in El Valle and other places in the capital.

    Clashes between demonstrators and security forces were also reported Thursday night from other parts of Caracas, such as Paradise, in the west, and Urbina, in the east.