Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Venezuelans again shut down capital to protest government


Top armed forces officials have been pledging loyalty in public, though opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday that 85 military officials had been arrested for dissent.

Demonstrators run on a closed highway during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

The high-level meeting at the White House on Saturday centered on Venezuela's current internal crisis and opposition-led anti-government protests as well as efforts to remove the socialist government that has repeatedly accused Washington of interference in its domestic affairs in a bid to bring to power a US-friendly administration.

Extreme right-wing groups of Venezuela " s opposition will insist today on their coup plans against the constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Protesters are hauling folding chairs, beach umbrellas and coolers onto main roads for a national sit-in.

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The talks on Venezuela were scheduled hours after it was reported that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had declared a new decree of "state of exception and economic emergency".

A woman lies in the middle of the street covered with the Spanish message "Maduro, resign already" during an opposition sit-in, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Business owners shuttered shops, a burned police station stood charred black and a state officer in western Venezuela was under arrest Tuesday following a spasm of violence that resulted in at least four deaths in anti-government protests.

Grisly videos captured much of Monday's violence. A bystander rips open his blue T-shirt, revealing a bloody wound underneath. "They killed him!" someone cries out. Working class people who have to traverse the capital for their jobs have adjusted their schedules to account for traffic shutdowns and take siestas to wait out clashes between protesters and police. White tear gas and rubber bullets were used on the protesters, the Associated Press reported.

The nationwide anti-government demonstrations launched 45 days ago have turned violent in some cases, with the toll now standing at 39 dead, hundreds injured and more than 2,000 people arrested.

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In the central state of Cojedes, groups of people riding horses joined the procession of protest. One was in critical condition after being shot in the head, authorities said.

The weeks of protests were set off by the socialist government's move to nullify the opposition-controlled congress in late March, but demonstrations have escalated into a vehicle for airing grievances against the government for triple-digit inflation, food shortages and a rise in crime.

The violence added to mounting bloodshed as Venezuela's opposition vows to step up near-daily demonstrations and as Maduro shows no intention of conceding to opposition demands.

It added that since the start of April, nearly 40 people have died and around 800 have been injured in fighting between security forces and protesters.

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