Venezuela mayor confirms 2nd death in protests

Paola Ramirez, a university student from San Cristobal, a city near the Colombian border, was also shot by armed government supporters when she and her boyfriend were running away from the gang. In the past, the groups known as collectives have operated like shock troops firing on protesters as security forces stand by.

Opposition supporters protested in Caracas and other cities in what they called "the mother of all marches", denouncing Maduro for eroding democracy and plunging the oil-rich economy into chaos.

Socialist Party officials dismiss the opposition marches as efforts to destabilize the government, pointing to protester barricades and vandalism, and have called on supporters to rally around Maduro.

Thousands of protesters yesterday took to the streets, led by opposition figurehead and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, calling for "new presidential elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians", the BBC reports.

Opposition leaders have staged several marches toward downtown Caracas, but each time they have been repelled and dispersed by tear gas or water cannons. "If we were millions today, tomorrow we will be more". "I tried to protect her as much as I could", he added, sobbing in front of her body.

There are early indications one young Venezuelan, who was shot, has died.

The opposition will congregate at more than two dozen meeting points around Caracas and attempt to converge on the office of the state ombudsman, a guarantor of human rights.

Anti-government protesters have described it as Venezuela's "second independence day".

But the throngs of protesters weren't well-payed US plants but Venezuelan citizens braving tear gas to protest a government that has overseen hyperinflation, food and medicine scarcity, years of recession, continually delayed elections, alleged vice presidential drug trafficking, and a president who seems unwilling or unable to respond to any of the above.

Venezuelan presidential office showing suppoerters of President Nicolas Maduro rallying
Supporters of President Maduro have also been protesting

The opposition's mobilization comes amid weeks of protests as Maduro faces increasing scrutiny overseas and within his own government after the country's top court last month tried to grab power from the opposition-controlled congress.

The number of people killed in the political unrest has now risen to eight, including the national guardsman, and thousands of arrests have been made in the space of three weeks. "We again urge demonstrators to express themselves non-violently", Toner said.

President Nicolas Maduro was due to address his supporters on Wednesday.

Today's protests unfolded amid explosive tensions, in a country where security forces have brutally repressed anti-government demonstrations, sometimes in collaboration with armed pro-government groups.

Julio Borges, center, president of the National Assembly and deputy of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD), tears a copy of a sentence of the Venezuela's Supreme Court during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, March 30, 2017.

Demonstrators clash with riot police during the so-called "mother of all marches" against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela Apr 19, 2017.

Demonstrators start gathering for a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas on April 19.

"The opposition is trying to provoke a conflict but they aren't going to achieve their goal", said Marquez, who wore a shirt emblazoned with the eyes of Chavez, a symbol of revolutionary zeal throughout Venezuela. It has been reported that tear gas canisters used by the military in last week's protests allegedly have been expired for years, which may cause serious health adverse effects on people. Venezuela: Police firing teargas against a fleeing crowd in Caracas. He also said authorities in recent hours had rounded up unnamed members of an underground cell of conspirators at Caracas hotels, including some armed people who were allegedly planning to stir up violence at the march.

'I've just graduated and what I've got in the bank isn't enough for a bottle of cooking oil, ' said Gregorio Mendoza, a 23 -year-old engineer in Puerto Ordaz.

  • Leroy Wright