MNA International Desk: Two Venezuelan students and a National Guard sergeant died on Wednesday after being shot during protests against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation.
The deaths mean at least eight have been killed since protests began three weeks ago over the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers after a yearlong power battle.
Tens of thousands of angry protesters converged from 26 different points spread across the capital to attempt to march downtown to the ombudsman’s office.
Like a half-dozen times previously, their progress was blocked by light-armored vehicles and a curtain of tear gas and rubber bullets fired by riot police officers. In some areas, caravans of government supporters, some of them armed, circled menacingly on motorcycles.
Maduro said that beneath a peaceful facade, the protests are little more than opposition efforts to foment a coup to end socialism in Venezuela.
The opposition said he has morphed into a dictator and accuses his government of using armed civilians to spread violence and fear.
The opposition called for another protest on Thursday, raising the spectre of prolonged disruption in Venezuela.