Opponents and backers of Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro have announced new marches for Wednesday after violence in ongoing anti-government protests that have left five people dead. Both sides on Saturday promised to hold sway across Caracas on the heels of two weeks of demonstrations that also have seen 117 people arrested.
The latest in more than a week of violent clashes erupted overnight Thursday to Friday in the town of Los Teques near the capital. Protesters mounted barricades and hurled Molotov cocktails, and police fired tear gas, photographs on social media showed. The demonstrations are expected to be the next big showdown in an increasingly fraught crisis that has raised international concerns about Venezuela’s stability.
The opposition is demanding the authorities set a date for postponed regional elections. It is also furious over moves to limit the powers of the legislature and ban opposition leader Henrique Capriles from politics. Those moves have raised international condemnation including from the United States and the European Union. Maduro has resisted opposition efforts to hold a vote on removing him, vowing to continue the “socialist revolution” launched by his late predecessor Hugo Chavez. Maduro says the economic crisis is the result of what he calls a US-backed capitalist conspiracy.