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Venezuela mayor confirms 2nd death in protests

21 April 2017, 02:41 | Taylor George

Venezuelans gear up for major march against Maduro

Venezuelan opposition to hold 'mother of all marches' against Maduro

Maduro says the Western-backed opposition has hugely capitalized on the global slump in oil prices to try and remove him from office.

So far, there have been no confirmed reports of fatalities during the protests.

In the capital of Caracas, organizers have announced 26 meeting points and said marchers would try to reach the city center to turn over a list of their demands to government officials.

"The U.S. government, the State Department have given the green light, the approval for a coup process to intervene in Venezuela", said Maduro, citing a State Department communique issued Tuesday titled "Non-Violence and Accountability During Protests in Venezuela".

Maduro says that beneath a peaceful facade, the protests are little more than opposition efforts to foment a coup to end socialism in Venezuela.

"Yes, we are concerned about that situation. We're watching it closely and working with others.to communicate those concerns".

In a move that opposition figures say was taken to limit participation in the Wednesday protests, Maduro ordered the closing of 20 of 48 stations in the capital city's subway system.

"I am motivated by the hunger that we are going through ..." The US has also slapped sanctions on Maduro's vice president, Tareck El Aissami, for alleged drug trafficking.

Caracas, Venezuela earlier today.

Maduro rallied his supporters to participate in a counter march, and thousands turned out Wednesday wearing red clothing that marked them as Chavistas.

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Demonstrators clash with police during an opposition protest in Caracas on April 19. The court - stacked with appointees of Maduro and Chavez - reversed its position in the wake of domestic and worldwide outcries about an attempted power grab.

The demonstration, dubbed "the mother of all marches", was the latest in a string of protests since last march against President Nicolás Maduro's government, which has been battered by scandal and its failure to respond to the increasingly dire economic plight of ordinary Venezuelans.

Maduro's opponents converged Wednesday on central Caracas to pressure his administration to respect the assembly's autonomy, schedule long-delayed elections, free political prisoners and restore other democratic norms.

Unidad Venezuela, a coalition of opposition parties, also organized marches in each of the country's 24 states. In addition, a demonstration took place at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, is exempt from renewal.

"I've just graduated. and what I've got in the bank isn't enough for a bottle of cooking oil", said Gregorio Mendoza, a 23 -year-old engineer in Puerto Ordaz.

That's making it almost impossible for the country to pay its debts and import food, medicine and other essentials for its citizens.

Demonstrators clash with riot police during the "mother of all protests" in Caracas, Venezuela, on April 19. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections the opposition was heavily favored to win and cut off a petition drive to force a referendum seeking Maduro's removal before elections late next year.

"Those responsible for the criminal repression of peaceful democratic activity ... will be held individually accountable for their actions by the Venezuelan people and their institutions, as well as the worldwide community", the statement read.

The statement, by spokesman Mark Toner, urged nonviolent demonstrations.

The government was also widely condemned for disqualifying opposition leader Henrique Capriles from running for office for 15 years, meaning that he will be ineligible to challenge Maduro for the presidency in elections due to be held next year.



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