12 deaths during opposition protests: Venezuela's attorney

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 27, 2017

Demonstrators clash with the riot police during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on April 20, 2017.

Ten people have been killed in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, during a looting incident at a bakery.

The accident, which killed eight people, occurred when a group of looters broke into a bakery in the working class neighbourhood of El Valle, according a firefighter who asked not be identified.

Video taken by locals showed residents throwing bottles and other objects out their windows at the gunmen in the streets below, shouting "murderers".

11 had died of electrocution and gunshot wounds "in act of violence" in El Valle, a neighborhood in Venezuela, where armored transportation struggled to contain crowds of looters, said the attorney general's office in Venezuela.

Venezuela's high court, which has consistently backed leftist president Nicolas Maduro, strips lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for them to face prosecution.

On Saturday, the opposition is planning a silent march to acknowledge those who have died during the demonstrations.

But Freddy Guevara, an opposition leader, rejected the allegation, calling Rodriguez "irresponsible" and saying the evacuations were "the fault of tear gas bombs of your dictatorship". Prosecutors said they had opened an investigation.

He said on Friday that claims by the opposition that government forces were responsible for launching tear gas at a maternity hospital during a protest are just another attempt to demoralize a people who have "decided to break ties with the bourgeoisie forever".

Authorities had already reported five other people killed, including a boy of 13, in protests around the country earlier this month.

At one point, street protesters hurling Molotov cocktails managed to set fire to one of the armored police trucks firing tear gas at them, lighting up the night sky.

Pressure on the socialist president has been mounting since 2014, as falling prices for Venezuela's crucial oil exports have sent the once-booming economy into a tailspin. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections that the opposition was heavily favoured to win and it cut off a petition drive aimed at forcing a referendum seeking Maduro's removal before elections scheduled for late next year.

The unrest was prompted after the country's Supreme Court attempted to strip congress of its legislative power, a move which would have given Maduro almost complete control. The opposition is demanding elections to exit the crisis. "It was awful", said the 33-year-old construction worker.

"Protests will need to grow and persist over the coming weeks to force a political transition", Eurasia analyst Risa Grais-Targow said in a note on Thursday.

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