13 April, 2017
In some previous demonstrations, government groups have roughed up opposition leaders and fired rubber bullets and a previously unseen reddish gas at crowds.
Over the past two weeks, thousands of people have taken to the streets across Venezuela to denounce President Nicolás Maduro's government with rally cries of "No more dictatorship!"
While heated rhetoric and exaggerated claims are favorite tactics used on both sides of Venezuela's bitter political divide, the singling out of critics in such a forceful way by Maduro is frequently a prelude to legal action.
Yesterday (10 April), several patients including a newborn baby had to be evacuated from a medical clinic in the Las Mercedes district after it was struck by tear gas canisters, a doctor there told reporters.
A university student is dead after being struck by gunfire at a protest in Venezuela, where thousands have been demonstrating against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. As night fell, many streets still reeked of tear gas and a small group of youth burned trash and tore down street signs at busy intersections in eastern Caracas.
The protests were triggered after a 15-year office ban was imposed on key opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
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The clashes were the latest escalation in an ongoing political crisis in Venezuela in which severe shortages of food and medicine and Maduro's increasingly authoritarian rule have been met by rising protests. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Twitter, posting pictures of demonstrators kicking police officers and breaking into an office of the Supreme Court.
The demonstrations initially began in response to a controversial and later annulled Supreme Court (TSJ) ruling on March 29 giving the judiciary temporary powers to assume certain functions of the National Assembly, which is now in violation of the high court.
Authorities last year cancelled an opposition campaign to hold a recall referendum on Maduro and no date has yet been set for gubernatorial elections that were supposed to take place last year.
Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who accuses foreign countries of "meddling", traveled to communist ally Cuba on Sunday for a meeting of the ALBA bloc, which includes Venezuela's leftist allies in Latin America including Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba.
The opposition is planning what Guevara called the "mother of all protest marches" on 19 April against Maduro.
Maduro has accused protestors of inciting unrest and called on them to halt its efforts and instead participate in conversation with him and his government.