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In Bizarre Video, Venezuela's President Threatens Protesters While Playing Catch

After days of deadly riots, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro tweeted a video of himself tossing around a baseball, and warning his political opponents that "justice will come."

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Overall, anti-government protests have resulted in 20 deaths in recent weeks, according to the Associated Press, plunging the country into political chaos.

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The court reversed the decision after an international backlash, but hostility toward Maduro's government has not subsided. Deadly protests have pitted violent protesters agains the country's armed forces, culminating in two days of massive riots last week.

Then, as thousands took to the streets Saturday night to honor those who've died in the protests, Maduro tweeted a bizarre video, addressing the country while playing catch in a pristine park.

Nos estamos preparando para las victorias que vienen, donde ganará la Patria y la Paz, porque así lo quiere el pueb… https://t.co/QJ5Ge9VO6r

The video was a surreal contrast to the scenes playing out elsewhere in the country, with Maduro playfully tossing the ball with a Venezuelan lawmaker even as thousands of opposition protesters crowded the streets to demand new elections.

In the clip, Maduro is, at times, playful. But he also appears to be issuing a dire warning to protesters who oppose his government, calling them, "mercenary groups hired to create chaos" and to "practice terrorism."

"In Venezuela there is peace, and peace will continue," he says. "To the violent groups, your justice will come."

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Needless to say, the video didn't sit well with plenty of Venezuelans and others on Twitter, who criticized Maduro for playing ball while his country is in disarray.

"How embarrassing that while the country is dying of hunger its chief of state is playing," one person wrote. "That's far from being a human being."

@NicolasMaduro @paolameega Que pena y qué vergüenza que mientras un pueblo muere de hambre un jefe de estado se pon… https://t.co/ejRCemAzxW

"Right, justice will come," another tweeted "I don't see peace with you. I see you nervous trying to demonstrate something that doesn't exist."

@NicolasMaduro Cierto la justicia llegara. Yo no les veo paz a ustedes. Los veo nerviosos tratando de demostrar algo que no existe.

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"How great, president, huh? You're playing and the country is going hungry," another tweet read, adding, "there will be no greater Victory for the country than your exit from the presidency."

@NicolasMaduro @teleSURtv Que sabroso presidente ha? Usted jugando y el pueblo pasando hambre no abramejor Victori… https://t.co/SUA7AxAuZq

"Why don't you make your speech in the main plaza and tell us if there is peace, and not death and hunger like we all know."

@NicolasMaduro Porque no hace su locución en la plaza principal y nos dice si hay paz y no muerte y hambre como todos sabemos.

"You're playing baseball saying there is peace in Venezuela when people are dying. Dictator."

@NicolasMaduro @PartidoPSUV tú jugando al béisbol diciendo que hay paz en Venezuela, cuando está muriendo gente de tú pueblo. Dictador.

"How great that you have a luxurious park for your private use," another person responded. "A complete oligarch while public parks are destroyed."

@NicolasMaduro que sabroso tener un parque de lujo para disfrutar en uso privado. Todo un oligarca mientras los parques publicos destruidos

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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