2 young men killed as chaos erupts in western Venezuela

Beth Cruz
May 18, 2017

Monday's "sit-in against the dictatorship" began peacefully, but later in the day, demonstrators clashed with soldiers and police, throwing rocks and setting an armored truck on fire.

Opposition supporters confront riot security forces while rallying against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 12, 2017.

Protests in Caracas remained mostly tranquil, but outside the capital demonstrators clashed with police and national guardsmen.

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.

At least 38 people have been killed and more than 750 injured in more than a month of unrest. Authorities were also investigating a shooting in Carabobo that left two officers injured, one critically. More than three dozen people have died in a month and a half of protests.

The violence added to mounting bloodshed as Venezuela's opposition vows to step up near-daily demonstrations and as Maduro shows no intention of conceding to opposition demands. More than three dozen people have been killed, including a national guardsman and a police officer, hundreds injured and as many as 2,000 detained in almost seven weeks of protests.

Venezuela's embattled president is pledging to resolve the nation's crisis by convening a special assembly to rewrite the constitution, a proposal the opposition is refusing to participate in. Representatives from 18 members of the Organization of American States approved a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela's crisis for May 31 in Washington.

Their demonstrations, and those of Maduro's backers, have escalated since the government-friendly Venezuelan Supreme Court's late-March attempt to strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers and since Maduro's May 1 call for a new constitution.

European Union foreign ministers said in a statement Monday that people's rights "must be respected, including the right to peacefully demonstrate".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro extended a nationwide state of economic emergency for 60 additional days Saturday in order to guarantee the population access to basic services. At fancy cafes, patrons show each other the latest videos of student protesters getting hurt or defaced statues of the late President Hugo Chavez on their phones. Others simply sat and held signs declaring their resistance.

"In this light, the announcement to expand and further strengthen armed civilian groups is worrying as it can fuel further violence and does not contribute to a solution".

A 27-year-old police officer is being charged in connection with Mr Hérnandez's death, the prosecutors' office announced on its Twitter account.

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

Hundreds have reportedly been arrested in a crackdown on protesters in Venezuela.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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