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Protesters clash with police in Venezuelan capital

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Protesters demonstrating against the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have clashed with police in the capital, Caracas.

Demonstrators, many of them hooded, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers and clogged up streets in busy areas of the city with makeshift barricades on Saturday.

In response, police used tear gas and riot vehicles to disperse the angry mob.

President Maduro has warned protesters to clear the Plaza Altamira square in eastern Caracas.

“I am giving the Chuckys [referring to the name of a murderous doll in a horror movie], the killers, just a few hours,” said Maduro, adding, “If they do not retreat, I am going to liberate those spaces with the security forces.”

The violent protests came shortly after several hundred supporters of the Venezuelan government staged a colorful demonstration in Caracas on Saturday.

“The people and the armed forces are on the streets defending the Bolivarian revolution and the legacy of Hugo Chavez, the country and our constitution,” National Assembly speaker, Diosdado Cabell, said, referring to the late Venezuelan president.

The country has been the scene of demonstrations against and in support of the government since mid-February.

The opposition blames the government for the high crime rate and economic hardships, claiming that the policies of the Maduro administration have led to a shortage of essential goods and a high inflation rate.

President Maduro, however, says the Venezuelan opposition seeks to launch a coup d’état in the country with the support of the United States.

Nearly 30 people were killed and around 400 others were injured in similar protests launched by university students in February.


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