Venezuela's capital braces for more anti-government protests

GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

Hundreds of anti-government opposition protesters in Venezuela clashed with security forces at various points around capital city Caracas on Wednesday.

Security forces fired tear gas at anti-government demonstrators, accusing Maduro of eroding democracy and plunging the economy into chaos.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the President Nicolas Maduro government that is now facing severe social, political and economic crises.

The center-right opposition has called on the military - a pillar of Maduro's power - to turn on the president amid an economic and political crisis that has triggered severe food shortages, riots and looting.

Melvin Sojo, who grew up in the Romero home, said police and two people who rushed his brother to the hospital told him the boy had been shot in the head by pro-government groups. Young protesters threw rocks at the National Guard and sought to throw dozens of tear gas canisters back to the militaries.

Mr Maduro says that beneath a peaceful facade, the protests are little more than opposition efforts to start a coup to end socialism in Venezuela.

"This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can. we'll see who tires out first", she said.

"We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in ways that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Wednesday. The opposition blamed both deaths to "colectivos", which have opened fire on protestors in every protest conducted on these past weeks.

"I came to march because I believe in this country and I want our youth to have a future; Venezuelans want to stay", said Mercedes Expósito, 53, who told NBC News that people say they want to stay in the marches though they're "choking from the tear gas; they will wait until the government runs out of its bombs".

Slideshow: Mother of all marches in Venezuela Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) 19 avril 2017 Muere abaleada estudiante universitaria durante protestas antigubernamentales en #Venezuela: familiares y testigos Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) 19 avril 2017 How many have died in total??

Fears of a coup Wednesday's rival marches drew parallels to the clashes between pro and anti-government protesters in 2002.

Two Dead, at least 57 Injured and over 400 Arrested The director of the Venezuelan Criminal Forum said the lawyers who advise the arrested are constantly updating and verifying the figures in the capital as well as in the 23 states of Venezuela, as “too many cases had been registered in only one day”.

Riot police take positions during the so called "mother of all marches" against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Apr 19, 2017.

The third fatality was a national guardsman killed by a sniper during protests in Miranda state, according to human rights ombudsman Tarek Saab.

Venezuela: Police firing teargas against a fleeing crowd in Caracas.

In short, the opposition says Maduro has created a dictatorship in the last few years.

Venezuelan authorities have banned top opposition leader Henrique Capriles from running for office for 15 years, the latest move in an increasingly tense power struggle. "We've triumphed again! Here we are, governing, governing, governing with the people!" he added, before breaking into song.

In advance of today's protests, the region's eyes were on Venezuela.

San Cristobal Mayor Patricia Gutierrez has said that Ramirez was shot to death by people who appeared to be government supporters. The ballot for State Governors has been delayed since 2016 and elections authorities have not announced when it will be held.



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