2 dead as Venezuela protests turn violent outside capital

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People place crosses, representing people who have died during the most recent opposition protest movement, on the side of the highway during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017.

"The release of jailed political opponents and the respect of the constitutional rights of all political actors to vote and to participate in elections are also crucial steps to building trust and helping the country to regain political stability", the European Union added.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations says Washington is concerned about the government's "violent crackdown". Protesters blame Maduro. A total of 38 people have died in street unrest since protests first broke out on April 1. One was in critical condition after being shot in the head, authorities said.

Monday's "sit-in against the dictatorship" began peacefully, but later in the day, demonstrators clashed with soldiers and police, throwing rocks and setting an armored truck on fire.

The weeks of protests were set off by the socialist government's move to nullify the opposition-controlled congress in late March, but demonstrations have escalated into a vehicle for airing grievances against the government for triple-digit inflation, food shortages and a rise in crime.

Top armed forces officials have been pledging loyalty in public, though opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday that 85 military officials had been arrested for dissent.

The Organization of American States will hold another special session to discuss Venezuela's spiraling political crisis later this month.

Protesters are demanding early elections and an end to the country's deep economic crisis.

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As demonstrations take over Caracas nearly daily, normal life has continued, but the atmosphere is suffused with uncertainty. Others simply sat and held signs declaring their resistance.

President Maduro has accused the leader of the opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Borges, of inciting violence by calling people on to the streets.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Chaos erupted in Venezuela this week during another round of protests against the socialist government, with buildings set afire, tear gas canisters lobbed back and forth, and at least three new deaths reported.

At fancy cafes, patrons show each other the latest videos of student protesters getting hurt or statues of the late President Hugo Chavez on their phones.

"We are against this fraudulent process", Capriles said on his radio broadcast.

Almagro singled out the leader of Venezuela's national guard, Antonio Jose Benavides Torres, and Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, saying they "lead the two institutions charged with the use of force in Venezuela".

The government's response to the demonstrations has drawn worldwide condemnation, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressing concern in April that Maduro is "not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard".

It wants early elections to remove him from office. At least two law enforcement officers have been killed in the demonstrations.

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