More killed, hundreds injured in Venezuela protests

Rachel Hardy
May 18, 2017

At least two people have died in renewed clashes between protesters and police in Venezuela.

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. Police have blocked marches with tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons, while protesters have hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails, vandalised property and started fires in a near-daily series of clashes.

A policeman was arrested for his alleged role in the killing of 33-year-old Luis Alviarez, a taxi driver who was shot in the thorax, in Palmira, Tachira state, on Monday.

In Valencia, three policemen were injured, authorities said, with one mistakenly reported by the local Socialist Party governor as having been shot dead earlier in the day. In the state of Lara west of Caracas, investigators were dispatched after three people were run over by a vehicle at a protest.

More than three dozen people have been killed, hundreds injured and as many as 2,000 arrested in almost seven weeks of demonstrations. They have also demanded the release of jailed activists, foreign humanitarian aid to offset the economic crisis and autonomy for the opposition-controlled legislature.

The European Union on Monday called for Venezuela to engage in an urgent, constructive and effective dialogue between the government and the parliamentary majority in order to overcome the political crisis in the country.

Global pressure on the troubled South American nation is continuing to increase, with the Organization of American States voting Monday to hold a rare foreign ministers' meeting later this month to discuss Venezuela's political crisis.

It wants early elections to remove him from office.

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The protests that erupted after the government-stacked Supreme Court issued a ruling March 29 nullifying the opposition-controlled National Assembly, a decision it later reversed amid a storm of domestic and worldwide criticism.

Foro Penal, a Venezuelan nonprofit group whose lawyers are representing many of those detained, said there were 35 arrests Monday.

Venezuela announced in late April that it would be leaving the OAS, which seeks to defend democracy throughout the hemisphere, and its representative was not present at Monday's meeting. Rather, in a statement released Monday, the global organization declared that "fundamental rights of the Venezuelan people must be respected, including the right to peacefully demonstrate".

The center-right opposition blames elected socialist leader Maduro for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food and medicine.

The government and the opposition have blamed each other of sending armed groups to sow violence in the protests.

The current wave of protests, which attracted hundreds of thousands of demonstrators on some days, has drawn greater support from the poor.

Associated Press writer Hannah Dreier reported this story in Caracas and AP writer Christine Armario reported from Bogota, Colombia.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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