Venezuelans again shut down capital to protest government
18 May, 2017, 01:27 | Author: Glenda Knight
A young Venezuelan protester died on Friday after being shot in the head, authorities said, taking fatalities from a month of anti-government unrest to at least 37 as the opposition geared up for more demonstrations.
People place crosses, representing people who have died during the most recent opposition protest movement, on the side of the highway during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017. "And I'll be back every day there's a protest, for as long as is necessary", said Anelin Rojas, a 30-year-old human resources worker, sitting cross-legged with a novel and earphones in the middle of Caracas' main highway. Videos of the violence in Tachira on Monday showed protesters throwing rocks and in one case setting an armored truck on fire. More than three dozen people have died, a lot of them young men shot at protests or killed during looting. In Lara, a vehicle ran over three protesters. As many as 2,000 have been detained in almost seven weeks of protests.
Opposition leaders demand immediate presidential elections. Polls show the great majority of Venezuelans want Maduro gone as violent crime soars and the country falls into economic ruin.
Global pressure on the troubled South American nation is continuing to increase, with European Union foreign ministers calling Monday for Venezuela to hold elections and warning that "violence and the use of force will not resolve the crisis in the country".
Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States and one of President Nicolas Maduro's harshest worldwide critics, called for the government to be held to account over the deaths. Venezuela's representative to the OAS did not attend Monday's meeting. Maduro and top administration leaders contend the OAS is meddling in Venezuela's domestic affairs, infringing on its sovereignty and trying to remove the government from power.
The latest protests in Venezuela broke out when the Supreme Court issued rulings that stripped the opposition controlled National Assembly of its powers. "Luis Alviarez. Palmira. 15-05-2017" read a poster placed by locals who paid tribute to Alviarez who died during a protest against Maduro's government in Palmira, Venezuela.
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"We ask the world to look at what's happening right now in Venezuela", opposition leader Maria Corina Machado said after Monday's violence.
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Venezuela is mired in an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food, medicine and other basics in the oil-rich country.
The government and the opposition have blamed each other of sending armed groups to sow violence in the protests.
Increasingly violent near-daily protests that began April 1 have left a toll of 38 dead, and hundreds wounded and under arrest.
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