2 dead as Venezuela protests turn violent outside capital

Rosalie Stanley
May 18, 2017

The unrest has killed at least 38 people since early April, including protesters, government sympathizers, bystanders and security forces.

Venezuelan opposition activists protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, on May 15, 2017.

Diego Hernandez, 33, and Luis Alviarez, 18, were killed in separate demonstrations, officials said.

Elsewhere in Tachira, demonstrators threw rocks and set an armoured truck on fire.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that a 17-year-old boy and two men died after being shot during anti-government protests, bringing to 42 the number of people killed in six weeks. One was in critical condition after being shot in the head, authorities said.

The weeks of protests were set off by the socialist government's move to nullify the opposition-controlled congress in late March, but demonstrations have escalated into a vehicle for airing grievances against the government for triple-digit inflation, food shortages and a rise in crime. As many as 2,000 have been detained in almost seven weeks of protests. Maduro is vowing to resolve the crisis by convening a special assembly to rewrite the nation's constitution, while the opposition is demanding an immediate presidential election.

The European Union is also calling for Venezuela elections.

Global pressure on the troubled South American nation is also increasing, with the Organization of American States voting Monday to hold a rare foreign ministers' meeting later this month to discuss the crisis. Venezuela's representative to the OAS did not attend Monday's meeting.

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It wants early elections to remove him from office.

On Sunday, female members of social organizations, as well as artists, creators and leaders of the organized people's power, issued a communiqué in which they condemned the violation of the fundamental rights of children and adolescents by violent groups supported by the opposition who use them in vandalistic and terrorist acts.

The national sit-in comes as part of the agenda of opposition demonstrations that were launched after the Supreme Court, which supports the government, took over numerous opposition-controlled Parliament's functions.

The talks on Venezuela were scheduled hours after it was reported that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had declared a new decree of "state of exception and economic emergency". Others simply sat and held signs declaring their resistance.

At fancy cafes, patrons show each other the latest videos of student protesters getting hurt or statues of the late President Hugo Chavez on their phones.

Drawing rail-thin teenagers, elderly grandmothers and all ages in between, Venezuela's protests have taken on an nearly ritual-like progression: Demonstrators begin marching toward their chosen destination and are blocked by police or national guardsmen in armored trucks launching plumes of tear gas.

Few arrests have been made and the death toll is fast approaching the violence seen during protests in 2014.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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