Dangerous Situation: Venezuelan National Guard Assault Members Of The Press During Protests

During Thursday's protest over food in Caracas, chaos erupted after supermarket shoppers were told that regulated goods they had expected to be available would not be up for sale. In a sign of just how bad things have gotten, at least 19 journalists were attacked while trying to cover the chaotic events Bloomberg reports.

Espacio Publico, a non-government organization that monitors freedom of expression said that the assaults include robberies by members of the National Guard and armed civilians.

"We categorically reject the criminalization that the press is being subject to as they are held hostage, threatened and repeatedly intimidated by armed groups while they cover the street" the organization said in a separate statement.

Venezuela's opposition is pushing for a recall referendum on Maduro's rule to be held this year, and after the country's election board known as CNE canceled a scheduled meeting to discuss the status of the request, the 2 million Venezuelans who had signed the petition calling for the recall were urged to march in order to "ratify" their signatures.

Jesus "Chuo" Torrealba, the executive secretary of Venezuela's opposition alliance known as MUD said "we collected over 2 million signatures, and the CNE hasn't yet said how the process will go. We already have five times the signatures needed to start the process."

"There were some very rough hours today in downtown Caracas. Venezuela is a time bomb of social and economic discontent" he added.

Time bomb of social and economic discontent is an understatement...