Venezuelans again take to streets as death toll jumps to 37

Posted May 06, 2017

People cover their faces from teargas as they walk past an armored vehicle of the National Guard in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

Maduro's move to tear up the "anti-capitalist" constitution written by his political godfather, the late President Hugo Chavez, could allow him to postpone elections that most Western observers believed he was sure to lose.

Crowds of them marched in Caracas, some clashing with riot police who blocked their way and fired tear gas.

A police officer died of his injures Thursday after being shot during a Wednesday protest that had hundreds of thousands of people on the street nationwide.

The Venezuela-United States war of words has now reached Indian shores in the wake of alarming indications that the conflict-ridden South American country may be heading for civil war. The young man's death raised to 32 the number of people killed in a month of demonstrations against the socialist leader's government and his plan to rewrite the constitution. Cañizales was in a pacific demonstration in Las Mercedes, a neighborhood in Caracas, when a tear gas canister impacted him on his neck, causing a cardiac arrest that led to his death.

Hecder Lugo was hurt during fighting between demonstrators and security forces in Valencia on Thursday that also injured four others, the local opposition mayor Enzo Scarano said in a series of tweets.

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Criticism by such a publicly known figure is a blow to Maduro, who has resisted the protesters' demands that he call early elections. "He is sending the most radical people" to deal with protests, Capriles said. Protesters at the women's rally, to take place in downtown Caracas, were urged to wear white, a traditional show of defiance against what organizers have branded a repressive government. Historically the Venezuelans have been a fighting people but never a violent one.

Emphasising that democracy "cannot be built to fit the needs of a particular government" and "involves listening to the voice of the majority", he added: 'No ideology can go beyond the common good'.

The president said the assembly would not include political parties with seats in the opposition-controlled National Assembly, but representatives of social groups.

Maduro's center-right opponents and some worldwide powers said that the move on the constitution is an attempt to dodge local elections this year and a presidential poll set for late next year.

Opponents say Maduro's bid to call a constitutional convention is a ploy to put off elections that polls say it would lose.

In an "Open Letter to the People of Venezuela", the Communist Party (PCV) condemned the campaign of violence being waged in the streets by right-wing protestors as well as foreign intervention in the country's affairs.