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Tres Más Muertos: Three More Killed in Venezuela Protests

A firecracker explodes at the scene of protests in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

A firecracker explodes at the scene of protests in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

Shootings in Caracas, Valencia and San Cristobal amid clashes between demonstrators, security forces and armed gangs

Three Venezuelans have died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro, witnesses and local media have said, pushing the death toll to 34 from almost two months of demonstrations that have been answered with deadly force from both security forces and armed pro-government gangs.

“…Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen…”

Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighborhood of Caracas after thousands of opposition supporters marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest.

“…Jesus Labrador was hit by a bullet on Saturday in the Andean city of Merida during a shootout between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycle…”

Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country’s worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office.

Argenis Hernandez, 26, was shot in the abdomen as he was demonstrating near a barricade in the central city of Valencia and died early on Saturday in a nearby hospital, according to local media reports.

A motorcyclist attempted to cross the barricade and opened fire on demonstrators when they would not let him through, wounding Hernandez.

Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen in the western city of San Cristobal, according to local residents. Rey had not been involved in the protests, they said.

Forty-year-old Jesus Labrador was hit by a bullet on Saturday in the Andean city of Merida during a shootout between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycles, according to a resident of the area.

Labrador died minutes after arriving at the hospital. Four others suffered bullet wounds in the incident.

The protests began in February with sporadic demonstrations by university students. They intensified after three people were killed following a 12 February rally in downtown Caracas….Read more…

theguardian.com

Reuters contributed to this report

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