Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Venezuelans gear up for opposition march

Venezuelans gear up for opposition march

In a third death, Venezuelan National Guard Sgt. Niumar Jose San Clemente Barrios was fatally shot during the protests Wednesday night, said the public prosecutor's office and Venezuela's top human rights official, ombudsman Tarek William Saab.

"The pro-government groups don't believe the opposition should not be in these parts of the city, but the opposition say they have the right to protest wherever they please", Weddle told Al Jazeera. "We need to face a critical situation, we are in a country that is collapsing", farmer Omar Leal told Al Jazeera.

Why is Venezuela gripped by protests?

Miguel Salomon is president of the Clinicas Caracas hospital.

Thirteen percent of Venezuelans said they rated their lives positively enough to be considered "thriving", as opposed to 28 percent who said they were "suffering".

The latest protests were triggered by a Supreme Court attempt to take over power from the opposition-controlled parliament.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took the street Wednesday to protest mother-of-all-marches-maduro-violence?CMP=twt_gu">Maduro and demand new elections, denouncing what they deem a steady slide toward authoritarianism coupled with pressing economic woes that include triple-digit inflation, vast food shortages and a rise in violence.

Moncada told members of the Washington-based organization that the resolution by the OAS on April 3 was to blame for the violence that occurred at demonstrations in the last two weeks.

Maduro has accused the opposition of attacking the police and looting shops and blamed a US-backed coup for the unrest.

Clashes have broken out in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, where hundreds of thousands of people held rival protests amid rising tensions over a deepening political crisis. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, a Uruguayan, routinely calls Venezuela a dictatorship.

The center-right opposition has called for the military - a pillar of Maduro s power - to abandon him.

Maduro said he hopes to expand the number of civilians involved in the Bolivarian militias created by the late Hugo Chavez to 500,000, up from the current 100,000, and provide each member with a gun.

"We're going to go on struggling", she said Wednesday, "because the one who tires, loses".

A short block away from where the opposition was gathering, a sea of red-shirted government supporters marched by calmly, some dancing to a salsa band.

They included state workers like Leidy Marquez, who was bused in from Tachira state on the other side of teh country. The opposition sees the government measures as turning Venezuela into a almost full-blown dictatorship.

The marchers who have flooded some major streets are refusing to budge.

Clashes broke out Wednesday at massive protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as riot police fired tear gas to push back stone-throwing demonstrators and a young protester was shot and wounded.

New administrations in Argentina, Brazil, and Peru notably started speaking up more about Venezuela in the past year, in particular calling for the government to restore democratic order and hold regional elections.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez says foreigners shouldn't meddle in Venezuela's internal affairs.

Maduro supporters held a counter-demonstration at the urging of the president.

But Trump has recently stepped up his criticism of Venezuela's government.

One protester, Helma Mendoza, said she joined "the mother of all marches", organized by leaders of the center-right political opposition, because of Venezuela's tattered economy and the resulting strain on her family and the broader society.

In recent protests, security forces have fired rubber bullets and tear gas, as well as using a water cannon.

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