Venezuelans gear up for major march against Maduro

Venezuelans gear up for major march against Maduro

Beyond disqualifying parties, the opposition's most popular leader in polls, Leopoldo López, marked three years in prison in February.

"Yes, we are concerned about that situation".

Authorities had previously reported five other people killed, including a boy of 13, in protests around the country earlier this month. Vatican-mediated negotiations also broke down with the sides accusing each other of bad faith.

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

As the latest clashes broke out in the capital with riot police firing tear gas to push back stone-throwing demonstrators, an unidentified man on a motorcycle shot the boy in the head, witnesses said.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor said she is investigating the Wednesday shooting incident amid conflicting reports over the cause of death. Opposition leaders hoped today's protests would succeed in attracting a broader range of Venezuelans, including those who are angry at the government but may be too intimidated by the threat of violence to march.

The crisis escalated on March 30, when the Supreme Court tried to take over the powers of the National Assembly, the only lever of government Maduro and his allies do not control.

Eleven Latin American countries issued a joint statement this week calling on authorities to set a time frame for elections to 'allow for a quick solution to the crisis that Venezuela is living through'.

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

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.

Demonstrators clash with riot police during the so-called "mother of all marches" against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2017.

In recent days, Maduro ordered troops to fan out around the country on high alert, and he encouraged his backers, including civilian militia members, to defend against alleged plans to overthrow his government.

"Those responsible for the criminal repression of peaceful democratic activity, for the undermining of democratic institutions and practices, and for gross violations of human rights, will be held individually accountable for their actions by the Venezuelan people and their institutions, as well as by the global community", State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. What is happening today should only be further evidence that there is an urgent need for strong global pressure to push for the restoration of human rights and democracy in Venezuela - and that the potential cost and risk of not exercising such pressure is rapidly increasing. "We want elections to get Maduro out, because he s destroyed this country", said protester Ingrid Chacon, a 54-year-old secretary.

Her face was covered in a white substance to protect herself from the nauseous effects of what she expects will be another day of dodging tear gas canisters. Although she doesn't expect change overnight, she said protesting is the only option the opposition has against an entrenched, increasingly repressive government. "We'll see who tires out first".

The last election held in Venezuela, the parliamentary election of 2015, gave the opposition a majority.

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

Two Venezuelan students died on Wednesday after being shot during protests against unpopular populist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation amid a crippling economic crisis. "Populism is an acid that has been corroding the pillars of Venezuelan democratic institutions", wrote Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes in Americas Quarterly. American officials have rejected such charges in the past.

Supporter of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also took part in a large counter rally in the city.