2 more protesters die as anti-Maduro violence rage in western Venezuela

2 more protesters die as anti-Maduro violence rage in western Venezuela

Demonstrators stand next to a bus burns near a protest against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, May 13, 2017.

Clashes between police and protesters are growing increasingly common in Venezuela.

The protest organized by the country's opposition coalition was billed as the "March of the Grandparents" and comes on the heels of six weeks of demonstrations against the embattled government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The so-called Board of Democratic Unity (MUD, in Spanish) called a big protest on the main avenues of Caracas on Monday, despite the government's calls for dialogue.

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Elderly Venezuelans frustrated with medical shortages and the flight of grandchildren from their troubled South American country joined anti-government street protests demanding elections Friday. Others vowed to stay rain or shine for the full 12 hours of the sit-in. Demonstrators assembled a giant rosary with balloons hanging from a Caracas highway overpass.

He also lamented the slaying on Wednesday of Miguel Castillo, 27, a protester whom he called a personal friend.Venezuelan players from Major League Baseball in the United States released a similar video this week, and athletes from various sports have called for moments of silence to honor the dead. Others simply sat and held signs declaring their resistance.

The pressure on the streets increased even more when Maduro on May 1 convened a national constitutional assembly to rewrite the Constitution, calling this the "only" way to achieve peace but a move its detractors say constitutes a coup d'etat and a way for the president to perpetuate himself in power.

"We are against this fraudulent process", Capriles said on his radio broadcast. Several people were reported injured and witness videos showed demonstrators setting an armored vehicle on fire.

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In the central state of Cojedes, groups of people riding horses joined the procession of protest.

Foro Penal, a Venezuelan nonprofit group whose lawyers are representing many of those detained, said there were 35 arrests Monday.

The British news agency reports that Maduro blamed activists for the destruction and accused opposition lawmaker Julio Borges of inciting further violence. A second line of officers wearing gas masks fired tear gas and rubber bullets to push the protesters back.

Mr Maduro accuses the country's business elite of boycotting the economy to create unrest and topple his democratically elected government. Numerous elderly marchers said it made them angry to see a once prosperous nation devolve into a country with triple-digit inflation, shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine and one of the world's highest homicide rates. At least two law enforcement officers have been killed in the demonstrations.

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