Venezuela death toll hits 29, protesters battle security forces

Opposition supporters attend a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas
Opposition supporters attend a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas Venezuela
Author

27 April, 2017

Four more people have died in protests against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, the government said Monday, bringing the total death toll in recent protests and unrest in the country to 26.

On Monday, three other protesters were killed during nationwide protests by opponents calling for elections to remove Maduro from office.

The wave of protests since early April against socialist President Nicolas Maduro have sparked Venezuela's worst violence since 2014.

Venezuelan Ombudsman Tarek Saab‏ on Monday said pro-government protester Jesus Sulbaran was shot in the neck in the state of Mérida as he was "demonstrating peacefully".

The opposition blames Maduro for the unraveling of the once-booming economy.

The decision was later reversed amid a storm of worldwide criticism - and from Ortega Diaz herself.

More news: Canadian PM responds to Trump's criticism of dairy industry

The opposition accuses the government of using the security forces to repress peaceful protests, and of sending armed thugs to attack them.

With few options left to get rid of him before the end of his term in 2019, the opposition is urging all-out street rallies to push for elections. "We're simply warming up because the day will come that we are all coming to the street until this government goes", said Gladys Avariano, a 62-year-old lawyer, under an umbrella at the Caracas "sit-in". The Organization of American States scheduled a special meeting of its permanent council Wednesday to discuss whether to call a meeting of the region's foreign ministers on the situation in Venezuela.

Amid the unrest, worldwide pressure on Venezuela to schedule delayed regional elections and free political activists has been steadily mounting at the OAS and in other regional forum.

He has called for local state elections, postponed from 2016, to be held soon, but has shown no sign of supporting an early presidential election.

Delcy Rodriguez, Maduro's minister of Foreign Affairs, broadcast the threat on Venezuela State TV on Tuesday night.


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