Maduro Says Man who Interrupted Inauguration Speech “Could Have Shot Me”

Yesterday during the presidential inauguration of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, a man rushed the podium and interrupted the event.

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Here is the video:

The Associated Press offered little details about the incident, saying: “Finally, a spectator rushed the stage and interrupted Maduro’s inaugural speech, shouting into the microphone before he was grabbed by security.”

The Guardian offered a more detailed account:

An onlooker, who said his name was Henry, rushed to the podium, interrupting the president’s speech, before he was bundled away by security guards.

Maduro – the chosen successor of Hugo Chávez – acknowledged the breach of security, saying: “He could have shot me here” before continuing with his address.

The dramatic incident came as post-election tensions began to calm thanks to a promise by officials to audit the vote that put Maduro into power.

The disputed outcome of Sunday’s poll prompted violent clashes this week and highlighted the domestic and regional fault-lines that Maduro will have to deal with during his six-year term.

Before the inauguration, red-shirted supporters marched through the streets, shouting and blowing trumpets, to celebrate the swearing in of the former bus driver at the national assembly later today. Latin American leaders flew in to demonstrate their solidarity.

But the opposition boycotted the event and the US, Panama and Paraguay have so far declined to recognise the result of last week’s closely fought presidential poll.

This account from Venezuela adds more details about what Maduro said after the interruption: “He could have shot me here. Security has failed.” He went on to to say that “people need to understand that this event has its rules and they should be respected. I know that our nation understands this, our entire country. We will talk with this young man after, who knows what desperation he brings, but what he did was poorly done.

The incident occurred just a day after Venezuela’s National Election Commission agreed to audit the rest of the election results. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has alleged that voting irregularities have occurred.

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