A Venezuelan violinist, famous for playing during protests that have been rocking the country since April, has burst into tears after authorities allegedly broke his violin during a rally. Footage of Wuilly Arteaga crying as he holds the broken instrument is gaining traction on social media.
Arteaga has become a regular fixture at the protests, where he plays the National Anthem and other songs amid chaos.
However, he alleged National Guards broke his violin during a rally on Wednesday (24 May) night.
"I was playing in the middle of the protest when the National Guards' motorcyclists came up and grabbed the violin by its strings," he was quoted by local media as saying.
Arteaga refused to let go of the instrument and fell on the floor. He then said he hugged the officer when the latter gave him the instrument – which broke during the scuffle – back.
After the video of him crying following the incident emerged on Thursday (25 May), his fans offered to raise funds for a new violin.
However, Arteaga said he will not accept donations, but he will reply to those who sent him messages of support.
Clashes between protesters and government forces have caused at least 55 deaths, with the chief prosecutor saying police had used excessive force to quell protests.
Among other demands, people are calling for President Nicolas Maduro to step down as they blame him for the country's crippled economy.
The ongoing financial crisis has led to a rise in inflation and crime, with people looting shops as the country is experiencing dire food shortages.