Killing of teenager pushes Venezuela protest death toll to 40

Reuters News
Posted: May 16, 2017 11:06 AM

CARACAS (Reuters) - A 17-year-old Venezuelan youth died on Tuesday after he was shot in the head during a protest the day before, taking the death toll from six weeks of anti-government unrest to at least 40.

The incident took place in central Barinas state, the birthplace of former president Hugo Chavez.

"A group of people arrived and started shooting, injuring the young person in the brain," the state prosecutor's office said.

The teenager died in a hospital early on Tuesday.

Violence flared in various parts of the country on Monday as the opposition held sit-ins and roadblocks, trying to keep up momentum in its bid to remove the socialist government.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks, angry about food shortages, a medical crisis and soaring inflation. Protesters are demanding elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign aid to offset an economic crisis, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled legislature.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the opposition for the country's crisis and the deaths, which have occurred on all sides. He accuses his opponents of trying to oust him in a coup with the backing of Washington.

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At least 90 people were arrested during Monday's unrest, according to a local rights group.

(Reporting by Girish Gupta and Corina Pons; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Lisa Von Ahn)