Bread Riots in Caracas as Venezuela Protests Escalate

Opposition parties have called for a white-clad "silent" protest across Caracas city on Saturday (22 April) in remembrance of those killed in the unrest this week.

Opposition leaders blame a heavy-handed crackdown by security forces, who have arrested hundreds of people and on several occasions flooded hospitals and clinics with tear gas. According to Olivares, 9 of those admitted died from injuries caused by electrocution and gunfire.

A 17-year-old boy and a woman died after being shot on Wednesday (Apr 19) during massive protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, bringing to seven the number killed this month in a mounting political crisis.

Six people also suffered gunshot wounds as other businesses, including two liquor stores, were looted, and attacks were reported in the city's metro system, Villegas said.

Video taken by locals showed residents throwing bottles and other objects out their windows at the gunmen in the streets below, shouting "murderers".

Mass anti-government protests started in Venezuela at the beginning of April after the country's Supreme Court chose to take on the legislative functions of the National Assembly, which is now controlled by the opposition.

At one point, street protesters hurling Molotov cocktails managed to set fire to one of the armored police trucks firing tear gas at them, lighting up the night sky. The court walked back the measure after global condemnation, but Maduro's government further fueled the protests by barring the opposition's most popular politician, Henrique Capriles, from holding office for 15 years.

The last week has seen an increase in late-night looting in working class areas.

"We demand that the culprits be investigated and punished", said Mayor Carlos Ocariz, a Maduro opponent. More pockets of violence erupted Friday night.

Clashes between supporters of the opposition and those of President Nicolas Maduro have flared this month in Venezuela.

The government said "armed gangs hired by the opposition" had attacked the hospital.

Melvin Guitan was wounded in Petare community east of Caracas when he was struck by a bullet during a protest being broken up Thursday by National Guard members deploying tear gas.

The opposition is demanding elections to exit the crisis.

The government accuses the opposition of hiring armed agitators to sow violence, while the opposition says it is the government hiring thugs and ordering the police and army to repress peaceful protests.

Already drawing criticism for the GM seizure, Maduro announced late Thursday that he wanted an investigation into cellphone operator Movistar for allegedly being part of the "coup-minded march" organized by his adversaries Wednesday.

"The hour of combat has arrived", Maduro said this week after ordering the military to mobilize in the face of the protests. It said 334 remained in jail Thursday.

Latest News