Venezuelan opposition deputy Marco Bozo clashes with riot police at a protest in Caracas
20 April, 2017, 09:54
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced he will provide firearms to as many as 400,000 loyalists in an effort to bolster the number of civilians in armed militias.
Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled that the National Assembly was in "contempt" and annulled its legislative powers.
Latin American powers warned against the risk of violence in Venezuela as it braces for big protests on Wednesday in a deadly political and economic crisis.
Ahead of a planned protest against his government, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has criticized 11 of his country's neighbors for "rude meddling".
Local journalist Cody Weddle said the city was "really militarised" as security forces prevented protesters from reaching downtown.
"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.
Crowds swelled to hundreds of thousands, including Maduro supporters who held a counter-demonstration in the capital at the urging of the president. "We have to stay out on the street", opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens said.
"The great Chavista mobilization toward Caracas has begun", wrote Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello on Twitter, referring to late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells reporters at the State Department that the U.S.is "concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard".
On Tuesday, the center-right opposition repeated its call for the military - a pillar of Maduro's power - to abandon him.
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.Some unhappy Venezuelans also steer clear of protests, fearful of violence, cynical that marches can bring about change, or too busy looking for food amid the recession.
Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in wh.
"We are out in the streets and fight for our freedom and we want Maduro out", Ruth Alca said. "We are at a crucial moment in the destiny of our nation".
"This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can. we'll see who tires out first", she said. "Of all the groups mentioned there, Venezuela is the only one that is able to demonstrate to the whole world, a participative and protagonist democracy, and let's not get started on human rights", she said.
The Attorney General's Office said that two other people were wounded at the protests after suffering multiple injuries and rubber bullet impacts.
There have been reports of clashes between demonstrators and riot police.
Maduro, speaking at a meeting with high-ranking political and military officials, denounced the United States statement as a "green light and approval of a coup process".
MARGARET WARNER: These latest protests erupted last month, after the pro-government Supreme Court took over the powers of the national legislature controlled by the opposition.
Snaking grocery lines are now a common sight and people routinely say they skip meals and can not find basic medication.Further spurring outrage was a decision by the national comptroller's office earlier this month to disqualify opposition leader and two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles from holding office for 15 years, dashing his hopes for the presidency.The elections council, which is sympathetic to the government, has delayed votes for state governors that were supposed to take place last year.
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