WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of Venezuelan-Americans and Venezuelan migrants from South Florida were protesting Friday night in Washington, D.C., as news about 243 protesters who were arrested in Caracas continued to flow on social media.
The students and families took two days off to join the nationwide political show of force, known in social media as the "Trip For Freedom" or "Caravana Por La Libertad." For months, they have been using the "SOS Venezuela" hash tag to raise worldwide awareness on their political crisis.
They often talked about the 41 who died and the hundreds who have been injured in the last four months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's administration. But when news that a congressional panel passed a bill that could impose U.S. sanctions on accused Venezuelan human rights violators, the group cheered.
Some shouted: "Que viva Venezuela," Spanish for long live Venezuela.
Live coverage: Local 10 News team travels with group
LATEST UPDATE: Local 10 News reporter Carlos Suarez and photojournalist Brian Ely joined the group on a road trip that started in west Miami-Dade early Thursday morning and ended in Washington, D.C., Friday morning. The group continued to decry human right abuses and visit lawmakers.
As news of another crackdown on student protests in Caracas spread, Venezuelan and U.S. flags brought from South Florida were waved in front of the White House and also in front of Capitol Hill, the Organization of American States and other iconic sites.
The Local 10 News team spotted President Barack Obama's Marine One, as it passed over them on the North Lawn.
MORNING JOURNEY: The Friday morning sun hit their white bus at Fayetteville, North Carolina. Some woke up to pray for the 41 who died during the last four months of protests. Hours later in Virginia, they sang the Venezuelan anthem. And just in time for lunch, they cheered when the bus crossed into Washington, D.C.
THURSDAY'S ROAD TRIP: One of the buses traveling northbound to Washington, D.C., from South Florida had mechanical issues. This and other delays divided the about 300 people in a caravan that departed early Thursday morning from the restaurant El Arepazo 2. The popular meeting spot was in the west Miami-Dade city known as "Dorazuela" for having the highest percentage of Venezuelan residents in the country.
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