Hi-Tech

Protesting Venezuelans clog roads - even on horseback

Protesting Venezuelans clog roads - even on horseback

Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States and one of President Nicolas Maduro's harshest worldwide critics, called for the government to be held to account over the deaths.

A man rests on a highway divider that reads in Spanish "Democracy", as part of an opposition sit-in, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Officials in the western state of Tachira said a second man, Luis Alviarez, 18, died from a bullet to the chest amid the protests. Several people were reported injured and witness videos showed demonstrators setting an armored vehicle on fire.

Still, few statistics stand out more than the number of people killed or injured in the protests since they began in earnest at the end of March: more than three dozen killed and more than 750 injured, according to the AP. A 17-year-old who was shot in the head during a protest in the central state of Barinas on Monday and died on Tuesday morning.

Polls indicate the great majority of Venezuelans want Maduro gone as violent crime soars and the country falls into economic ruin, with triple-digit inflation and shortages of many basic foods and medical supplies.

The opposition is calling for early elections and the released of opposition politicians jailed in recent years, saying the socialist governments of Mr Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, have mismanaged the economy since coming to power in 1999.

The OAS on Monday voted to hold a rare foreign ministers' meeting later this month to discuss the South American country's political crisis.

An especially grisly 24 hours of turmoil coming after almost two months of political unrest had nervous residents staying indoors in restive cities like San Cristobal near the border with Colombia.




The protests were triggered by a government move to nullify the opposition-controlled congress in late March, but have morphed into a general airing of grievances against the unpopular socialist administration.

"You have to keep finding ways to protest", Rafael Galvis, 46, said as he drove a truck carrying a dozen protesters waving the red, blue and yellow Venezuelan flag and banners with slogans criticizing Maduro.

People gather on a highway for a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

"We are against this fraudulent process", Capriles said on his radio broadcast. In fact, after the Organization of American States criticized his response to the unrest late last month, his government initiated steps to withdraw from the Washington-based group - which, if Venezuela follows through, would mark the first time a country has left the OAS.

A 27-year-old police officer is being charged in connection with Mr Hérnandez's death, the prosecutors' office announced on its Twitter account.

Maduro blames the opposition for the violence, claiming its leaders are fomenting unrest to remove him from power.

The government and the opposition have blamed each other of sending armed groups to sow violence in the protests.


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