Venezuela’s iconic protesting violinist beaten with violin, left hard of hearing: rights group
CARACAS, July 28 (Reuters) – A violinist who was arrested during anti-government unrest this week was beaten with his instrument by officials, leaving him hard of hearing, according to a rights campaigner.
Wuilly Arteaga, 23, had become one of the best-known faces of protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, playing the National Anthem as tear gas enveloped him and rubber bullets flew around him.
Anti-government protests have rocked Venezuela for four months, leaving more than 110 people dead.
WATCH: Violent clashes erupt in Venezuela as controversial assembly vote approaches
Arteaga was detained during a protest on Thursday, said Alfredo Romero, head of the Penal Forum rights group, in a Periscope video filmed while driving. Arteaga has become emblematic for government critics of security forces’ tough tactics against protesters in recent months.
“They burned his hair with a lighter, beat him very hard meaning that he can’t hear through his right ear,” Romero said.
The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WATCH: Political crisis pushes Venezuela close to collapse
The young violinist was severely injured last week while playing during protests. Paramedics attended Arteaga on Saturday as blood poured down his face.
He later tweeted a video from hospital with a bandaged face and clutching his violin.
“Neither rubber bullets nor pellets will stop our fight for Venezuela‘s independence,” Arteaga said in the video. “Tomorrow I will be back in the streets.”
More than 4,800 people have been arrested during four months of anti-government unrest, according to Romero, with more than 1,300 still detained.
© 2017 Reuters