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Venezuela death toll hits 40 as boy dies — prosecutors

By AFP - May 16,2017 - Last updated at May 16,2017

Opposition supporters participate on a blockade in an avenue while rallying against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday (Reuters photo)

CARACAS — A 17-year-old boy died in Venezuela after being shot during anti-government protests, prosecutors said, bringing to 40 the number of people killed in six weeks of unrest.

The boy was hospitalised on Monday after being shot in the head during a demonstration in the western town of Pedraza and died on Tuesday morning, the public prosecution service said in a statement.

He was at the scene of a demonstration "when suddenly a group of people arrived and fired several shots, wounding the young man in the head", it said.

Monday saw the latest in weeks of violent clashes as opponents mounted fresh demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro.

The government and the opposition have accused each other of sending armed groups to sow violence in the protests.

Police have fired tear gas and protesters have hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails in a near-daily series of clashes since April 1.

The centre-right opposition blames elected socialist leader Maduro for an economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of food and medicine.

It wants early elections to remove him from office.

Maduro has vowed general elections will take place as scheduled in late 2018 but not before.

He has accused the opposition of mounting an "armed insurgency" and "terrorist acts" against him with US backing.

A man of 18 also died from a wound to the chest during a demonstration in the western town of Palmira, the prosecution service said on Monday.

 

Two police and a civilian were injured by bullets in other towns, authorities and opposition leaders said.

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