Woman march in Venezuelan capital against socialist govt

Armored military vehicle runs over Venezuelan protester

Venezuela! What do we want?

One protester, Hecder Lugo, aged 20, was shot in the head and died while fighting with security forces in Valencia on May 4. Though demonstrations frequently took place due to the country's crumbling socioeconomic situation, protests gained momentum after Venezuela's Supreme Court took away the powers of the National Assembly, a body led by opposition lawmakers. Opinion polls have suggested the socialists would lose both elections badly at a time of widespread anger over triple-digit inflation and shortages of food and other goods.

And in an incident loaded with symbolism, a handful of young men destroyed a statue of late leader Hugo Chavez in the oil-producing Zulia state, according to videos circulating on social media on Friday evening. The response they received was cheers was from the crowd. They broke through the walls and took everything.

"My bosses have lost their home and we are out of a job".

Residents were stockpiling food, water and fuel. The city of 1.8 million has been one of the major flash points in the looting that has swept the country, with some 70 stores sacked on Tuesday.

"Today we are hungry, and tomorrow we will be hungrier still because there is nothing". Jaua, a former vice president and foreign minister, told them the assembly would provide a path to peace and co-existence between the opposing sides. He charged the government with using the constituent assembly as a pretext to avoid the general elections the opposition is pushing for.

"We can not take part in a fraudulent process", former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said, appearing at a news conference with other MUD leaders.

He cited information he said was given by the officers' families.

CARACAS – Thousands of Venezuelan women opposed to the Nicolas Maduro government marched on Saturday in Caracas and in other cities around the country against the repression which, they said, has been imposed by state security forces during the wave of protests that began in the Caribbean nation last April 1.

The family of an imprisoned high-profile Venezuelan opposition leader on Friday urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit the penitentiary where he is being held and verify his health status and the conditions of his confinement.

The leader of the opposition MUD coalition Henrique Capriles called the process a "fraud", and warned that Venezuela would be "ungovernable" if the process continued "because there would be two constitutions".

Expressing deep concern "about the Maduro government's violent crackdown on protestors", the USA ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said in a statement that Maduro's "disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people has heightened the political and economic crisis in the country".

"We will not let a fascist regime be set up here", said Elias Jaua, the official appointed to lead a presidential commission on the constitutional reforms.

It is not clear what specific changes Maduro and his allies plan to bring about by writing a new constitution, but he has insisted that a new constitution is needed "to restore peace" and stop the opposition from carrying out a "coup d'etat".

The celebrity Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, added his voice to calls for an end to the violence on Thursday.

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