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General Motors plant seized, protesters killed in Venezuela

21 April 2017

Venezuelas executive vice president Tareck El Aissami rejected accusations by opposition groups who blame the government of Nicolas Maduro for the deaths of the two people amid the demonstrations.

The hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters are accusing Maduro of causing the serious economic and social crisis in the country.

Still, thousands rallied in support of Maduro in Caracas, with estimates of the total number of people protesting in the nation's capital topping out at as much as 1.2 million over a 12 mile stretch.

Government supporters held opposing demonstration as backers dressed in red t-shirts and carried posters of popular late President Hugo Chavez, who governed from 1999 to 2013. As has become common in recent weeks on protest days, Venezuelan authorities will close 27 metro stations and likely set up checkpoints to slow entry to the city.

The 17-year-old was shot by gunmen who also threw tear gas canisters into a crowd of protesters, Amadeo Leiva, head of the Clinicas Caracas Hospital which treated him, told AFP.

A demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister during clashes with security forces at a protest in Caracas. The National Guard members are deploying tear gas on an opposition march

The police on Wednesday fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators and block their marches.

This is the largest day of demonstrations in more than two weeks of violent protests that have seen more than 200 arrested.

A teenager was fatally shot in the head in the capital Caracas, and a woman killed in gunfire during a rally near the Colombian border.

A 24-year-old woman was shot at a protest in the western Venezuelan state of Táchira, the Washington Post reported. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections the opposition was heavily favoured to win, and cut off a petition drive to force a referendum seeking Maduro's removal before elections late next year.

He also said that there is evidence that right-wing National Assembly Deputy Freddy Guevara led hooded demonstrators today, adding that these acts of violence were also promoted by National Assembly leader Julio Borges.

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Capriles, who has been banned by the government from holding political office for 15 years, has vowed to continue the protests, calling for further marches on Thursday. In the past, the groups known as collectives have operated like shock troops firing on protesters as security forces stand by.

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

The clashes come as President Nicolás Maduro has ordered security forces and armed civilian militias onto the street on the same day that the opposition is staging "the mother of all marches".

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"This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can", said Machuca, her face covered in a white, sticky substance to protect herself from the noxious effects of tear gas.

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The public prosecutor's office has called for an investigation into the shooting. Maduro said the hemispheric organization was persecuting his country.

Diosdado Cabello, a pro-government congressman, said in a conference aired by state-run channel this Wednesday night that if the opposition keeps attempting to perform a coup on the government, the government will take "irreversible" measures to remain in power, which could mean that they'd admit a dictatorship.

According to Fox News, opposition to Maduro's administration are reaching a boiling point, and in response the Venezuelan president told uniformed militia members outside his palace that there would be a "gun for every militiaman".

"A fair, predictable and transparent judicial system is critical to implementing the essential economic reforms critical to restoring growth and addressing the needs of the Venezuelan people", State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

The president also signed orders on TV late Tuesday activating the "green phase" of enigmatic military plans to defend Venezuela against what he describes as USA -backed attempts to sow chaos and overthrow him.

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General Motors plant seized, protesters killed in Venezuela