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Demonstrator killed and dozens injured in Venezuela clashes as opposition protests fizzle out

General May 3, 2019

Demonstrator killed and dozens injured in Venezuela clashes as opposition protests fizzle outVenezuela’s military was thanked by president Nicolas Maduro for resisting calls to rise up against his regime on Thursday after days of violent clashes. In a show of defiance and strength, Mr Maduro took part in an early morning parade alongside what his administration said were 4,500 military personnel.  "Yes, we are in combat, keep morale high in this fight to disarm any traitor, any coup plotter," Mr Maduro said at the televised event on Thursday.  Pictures showed Mr Maduro, 56, waving in a cap and jacket surrounded by soldiers in uniform at a military base in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital.  State television reportedly called the parade a “march to reaffirm the absolute loyalty of the armed forces”. Mr Maduro’s address was also posted on social media.  Thousands took to the streets, but it was not enough Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/ AFP Both Vladimir Padrino, the defence minister, and Remigio Ceballos, the military operations chief, flanked Mr Maduro during the dawn address.  The message was an attempt to reassert control after 48 hours which saw calls for a military uprising, protests marred in violence and speculation that senior figures could defect.  Juan Guaido, the 35-year-old national assembly leader who declared himself interim president in January, had issued his own social media video surrounded by soldiers on Tuesday morning.  National Guards fired tear gas at a hardcore of demonstrators after the majority of protesters went home Credit: MATIAS DELACROIX/AFP That dramatic message had called for the nation’s military to rise up against Mr Maduro, who he argues has usurped power on the back of an illegitimate election. On Tuesday and Wednesday violent scenes played out across the country as thousands of supporters of Mr Guaido took to the streets in support for his claim.  Security forces who remained loyal to Mr Maduro used tear gas, water cannons and, according to reports on the ground, live fire at times to keep the crowds in control.  Venezuela | Read more Human rights organisations and health services reported 46 people injured in Wednesday's clashes, including one person with a gunshot wound. Jurubith Rausseo, 27, died after being hit by a "bullet in the head”, according to the non-governmental Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict.  One person was killed and dozens injured in Tuesday's clashes, human rights monitors also said. The government said more than 150 people were arrested. Mr Guaido expressed optimism about claiming power during an interview with the Fox Business Network despite Mr Maduro being still in place as the week nears its end.  “As long as we are mobilised and united, we are very close to achieving our freedom,” he said. “Can’t tell you a specific date or time. Working on transition. Democracy has always taken time.”


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