Dozens hurt, 1 dead in violent day of protests in Venezuela

Posted May 12, 2017

Castillo, 27, brought the total number of fatal victims to 39, since protests against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro were renewed in April.

Bishop Castor Oswaldo Azuaje Perez of Trujillo, Venezuela, said in a newspaper interview that "the government is barking up the wrong tree" in attempting to quell public demonstrations without allowing for democratic elections.

"The use of excrement is not only an act of desperation, it's madness", Mario Silva, a pro-government TV personality said on Twitter.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in. Maduro has dismissed the opposition movement as a violent, far-right effort intent on removing him from power.

At least 93 people were injured when security forces moved in to disperse crowds protesting against the government in Caracas, according to Chacao district mayor Ramon Muchacho.

Many rights activists see the increasing reliance on military tribunals to try civilian protesters as an echo of the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s, when military dictatorships in Chile, Brazil and elsewhere bypassed civilian jurisdictions to prosecute political opponents accused of being national security threats tied to worldwide communism.

Another forty or so people were expected before judges later Monday, said the lawyer, who denounced what he called an "illegal" bid by a military court to try civilians.

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Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said last week that dozens of officers had been detained for "expressing discontent" and said Thursday the nation's military is "profoundly unhappy" with the government.

Anti-government protesters rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. "We can not remain silent in the face of such obvious abuse of the basic human rights of Venezuelans".

With inflation in the high triple-digits, shortages of the most basic medicines, and millions suffering food scarcity, Venezuela has been rocked by weeks of violent clashes as hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to vent their anger at the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

"These kids live in a dictatorship, they have no other option but to protest however they see fit", Maria Montilla, 49, told the Reuters news agency as she joined a protest on Caracas' main thoroughfare, taking up a position behind younger demonstrators wearing masks and taking aim at National Guard troops with stones and feces. And confirmed cases of malaria in the country increased 76 percent from the year before.

Dugarte died Wednesday in a hospital in Merida. The opposition blames President Nicolas Maduro for the crisis and has been calling for an early election.

In March, Venezuela's Medical Federation said hospitals had less than 5 percent of the medicine needed to properly treat patients.