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Venezuela opposition calls new protest today
20 April 2017, 06:30 | Erica Roy
Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas amid confusion and tear gas Wednesday for what they've dubbed the "mother of all marches" against the embattled socialist leader. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay signed a joint statement Monday asking for the Venezuelan government "to guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration", and avoid violence against protesters.
Activists say more than 400 people were arrested during protests on Wednesday.
Violence erupted when thousands of opposition protesters tried to march on central Caracas, a pro-government bastion where red-clad Maduro supporters were massing for a counter-demonstration.
The opposition has accused Maduro of letting state forces and gangs of armed thugs violently repress demonstrators as he resists opposition pressure for him to quit.
Supporters of the government held a rival rally in Caracas.
"Same place, same time", said opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Wednesday night.
The pressure on the president came as it emerged the Trump donation was paid by state-owned oil company PdVSA - which is heavily indebted to Russian oil giant Rosneft - through its USA affiliate, Citgo Petroleum. "I left her on a block where she was going to find her sister and I went to hide the bike".
Capriles, who Deutsche Welle calls "the opposition's most promising candidate for the coming elections in 2018", was banned last week from holding office for 15 years - a move Capriles says he does not recognize.
"We're after and will capture the very last of the attackers", Maduro said Saturday on national TV.
The two killings bring to seven the death toll since protests began three weeks ago over the Supreme Court's decision to strip the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers, a move that was later reversed but not before enraging the opposition and causing a storm of global criticism.
Jorban Contreras, a paramedic and director of the civil protection unit in Tachira, said the woman lost a lot of blood and was already dead from a gunshot wound to her chest when he arrived. Her face was covered in a white substance to protect herself from the noxious effects of what she expected would be another day of dodging tear gas canisters.
The public prosecutor's office said it was investigating both cases.
The opposition attributed the two student deaths to groups known as "colectivos".
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.
Demonstrators want new elections and the release of opposition politicians. At least five people have been killed and many more injured in clashes.
The marchers gathered at more than two dozen points around Caracas, although some were stalled by authorities closing around 20 subway stops. Youths throwing rocks have squared off against security forces spraying tear gas in melees that have dragged on well into the evening.
Venezuela's Vice President Tareck El Aissami indicated that the opposition is trying to depict Venezuela as a country in chaos to justify foreign intervention. Maduro, meanwhile, has ordered the Venezuelan armed forces onto the streets to maintain order. He appeared on Wednesday afternoon on national television saying that the corrupt and interventionist right-wing had been defeated.
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