By Brian Ellsworth and Carlos Garcia Rawlins
CARACAS (Reuters) - Barricading roads with trash and even bathtubs, small groups of protesters held "sit-ins" around Venezuela on Monday in an effort to maintain momentum as anti-government unrest entered a fourth week.
Ten people have been killed during near daily clashes this month between security forces armed with rubber bullets and tear gas, and protesters who have sometimes thrown rocks and petrol bombs. At least 10 people have also died during night-time looting.
President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government accuses protesters of seeking a violent coup with U.S. connivance, while the opposition says he has become a dictator repressing peaceful demonstrations.
The protesters' main demand is for elections, although the anger is also underpinned by crippling economic crisis in the oil-producing country.
"I have an empty stomach because I can't find food," said Jeannette Canozo, a 66-year-old homemaker, who said police used rubber bullets to break up an early morning barricade on a Caracas avenue.
Demonstrators wore the yellow, blue and red colors of Venezuela's flag, held signs denouncing shortages, inflation and violent crime, and chanted: "This government has fallen!"
The unrest is Venezuela's worst since 2014 when 43 people died in months of mayhem sparked by protests against Maduro, the 54-year-old successor to late leftist leader Hugo Chavez.
This year's protests began when the pro-government Supreme Court assumed the powers of the opposition-controlled congress. The court quickly reversed course, but its widely condemned move still galvanized the opposition.
The government's disqualification from public office of two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who would be an opposition favorite to replace Maduro, gave further impetus to the demonstrations.
More than 1,400 people have been arrested this month over the protests, with 636 still detained as of Monday, according to local rights group Penal Forum.
The wife of jailed political leader Leopoldo Lopez held a sit-in on Sunday, spending 15 hours outside the prison that has housed him since he was jailed over the 2014 unrest.
Facing exhortations from around the world to allow Venezuelans to vote, Maduro has called for local state elections - delayed from last year - to be held soon.
But there is no sign the government will allow the next presidential election, slated for late 2018, to be brought forward as the opposition wants.
Given the country's economic crisis, with millions short of food, pollsters say the ruling Socialist Party would fare badly in any vote at the moment.
Trying to keep the pressure on Maduro, the opposition is seeking new strategies, such as a silent protest held on Saturday and Monday's "sit-ins". While some small demonstrations have been held in poorer and traditionally pro-government areas, most poor Venezuelans are more preoccupied with putting food on the table.
(Additional reporting by Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal and German Dam in Puerto Ordaz; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Frances Kerry)