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Venezuela Protests Continue, National Guardsman Killed

A demonstrator runs to confront a line of Bolivarian National Guard officers during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 28, 2014.
A demonstrator runs to confront a line of Bolivarian National Guard officers during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 28, 2014.
VOA News
Anti-government protesters continued to clash with Venezuela's security forces overnight, as violent street demonstrations dragged into the third day of a national holiday.

Scattered barricades blocked streets Saturday in the capital, Caracas, as student demonstrators threw stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails at security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannons.

One national guardsman was shot dead as he tried to remove a barricade, bringing the death toll in three weeks of clashes to at least 18. Another guardsman was wounded.

Protesters are demanding that President Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded the late president Hugo Chavez, resign because of the country's high crime rate, inflation and shortages of staples such as milk and flour.

The Maduro government blames the violence on right-wing opponents of his government, accusing them of receiving support from the United States. The U.S. government denies involvement in the unrest.

Venezuelans began a week-long national holiday on Thursday. People traditionally abandon cities and head for Caribbean coastal beaches to relax and party for the Carnival holiday.

Maduro says there will be an extra day off on March 5 to mark the first anniversary of Chavez's death from cancer. Officials hope the long break will dampen the student-led protests.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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