University student killed in Venezuela opposition protest

Anna Polga fled political persecution in Caracas and is now a permanent resident in Canada.

Anna Polga fled political persecution in Caracas and is now a permanent resident in Canada."Our natural disaster is our government,” she says

But the crisis only deepened Friday (7 April) when authorities banned senior opposition figure Henrique Capriles from holding public office.

The streets of Caracas and several other Venezuelan cities have seen running battles in recent days as protesters have rallied demanding elections.

Around a dozen opposition legislators on Tuesday held another surprise protest at the headquarters of the National Guard to decry excessive use of force - including tear gas dropped from a helicopter and fired into a Caracas clinic. We will see who gets exhausted first: "us of fighting, or them of repressing", said the deputy speaker of the opposition-majority congress, Freddy Guevara.

State officials via social media have shown images and videos of demonstrators vandalizing public property and throwing rocks at police. Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said police had arrested 18 people in the clashes.

Some 57 people were reported injured, according to Blyde and Chacao borough mayor Ramon Muchacho.

Small groups in various of parts of Caracas maintained sporadic clashes with troops throughout the afternoon and into the evening, in some places setting up barricades of tyres and burning trash along thoroughfares.

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We firmly support the consensus of the Organization of American States Permanent Council, which affirms it is essential that the Government of Venezuela ensure the full restoration of democratic order. In a response to the state's decision, Capriles called his supporters to participate in mass demonstrations.

Authorities squashed an opposition campaign to hold a recall referendum on Mr Maduro previous year and a date has yet to be set for gubernatorial elections that were supposed to take place in 2016.

The opposition blames Maduro for an economic crisis aggravated by falling oil prices, which has caused acute shortages of food and medicine.

Some 188 protesters, majority students, were arrested in the period April 4-8 and 57 are still behind bars, rights group Penal Forum said yesterday.

His death comes on the heels of the killing of 19-year-old Jairo Ortiz on the outskirts of Caracas on Thursday in the area of an opposition protest.

The government has come under increased pressure from American and European countries that have condemned violence in Venezuela and the ban on Capriles.

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