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Venezuelan opposition calls for more mass protests

20 Avril 2017

Opponents of the government said pro-government militias opened fire on a crowd, but government officials say the boy was assaulted while walking home from a soccer game. At least two dead during mass protests.

But the Trump administration has recently stepped up criticism of Venezuela's government.

19 de abril de 2017, 18:47Caracas, Apr 19 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reiterated today the Bolivarian Government " s willingness to establish a negotiation table with opposition organizations, with the objective of guaranteeing peace and economic development in the country.

"We call on all Venezuelans to come together to de-escalate the situation and find democratic solutions in the framework of the constitution", European Union foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali told AFP. "We're watching it closely and working with others ... to communicate those concerns", Tillerson added, according to Reuters.

Despite Wednesday's deadly violence, opposition leader Henrique Capriles called for fresh protests on Thursday. "I am really anxious about what is going on".

He says the protests echo those of 2002 that led to a brief coup against his predecessor and mentor, the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. "This cheating government has betrayed us, the people, the children in the family". Caracas, Venezuela earlier today.

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

Analysts say there is less likelihood of a coup against Maduro because Chavez launched a broad purge of the armed forces following his brief ouster.

Local journalist Cody Weddle said the city was "really militarised" as security forces prevented protesters from reaching downtown. The court backpedaled and restored power to the body after the abortive attempt drew anger both in Venezuela and the global community. Maduro's critics increasingly doubt that the ruling Socialist Party, which was soundly defeated in 2015 legislative elections, will allow for free and fair elections.

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Unidad Venezuela, a coalition of opposition parties, also organized marches in each of the country's 24 states.

Three people have died as a result of the so-called "mother of all marches" taking place in Venezuela.

Pressure on the leftist president has been mounting since 2014, as falling prices for Venezuela s crucial oil exports have aggravated an economic crisis.

Wednesday's mass protest fell on a significant date for Venezuelans: On April 19, 1810, Venezuelans began their quest for independence from Spain.

Government supporters in Caracas are also rallying in big numbers.

"Do not hesitate for a second", he urged Monday. Mark Toner, the U.S. State Department spokesman, echoed that call in a statement Tuesday, pressing for calm and accountability during the protests.

'We're scared but we've got to do this, ' said Carmen Medina, a 55-year-old social worker in the middle-class district of El Paraiso, where demonstrators were beginning to gather. "Whoever wants to see the script written to generate violence, death ... read the statement".

An anti-government protesters throws a molotov bomb at security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

"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", the U.S. State Department said in a statement Tuesday. It said that as of Monday, 241 people were being detained.