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Rubber Bullets Fired on Venezuelan Protesters; 1 Killed

  • VOA News

Riot security forces congregate next to a government truck that was set on fire during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, June 22, 2017.

Venezuelan security officials clashed with protesters again Thursday, firing rubber bullets at demonstrations in Caracas. One protester was killed.

David Jose Vallenilla, 22, died after arriving at a hospital in Caracas' Chacao municipality, where the protest happened. His death brought the toll to at least 76 fatalities since April.

There have been almost daily protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro for the past three months.

The unrest was set off by an attempt by Maduro's government to nullify the opposition-controlled congress in late March. But demonstrations have escalated into a vehicle for airing grievances against the government regarding triple-digit inflation, food and medicine shortages, a rise in crime and Maduro's attempt to rewrite the constitution.

The opposition blames the bloodshed on state security forces using excessive force.

An injured opposition supporter is helped by volunteer members of a primary care response team during clashes with riot security forces at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, June 22, 2017.
An injured opposition supporter is helped by volunteer members of a primary care response team during clashes with riot security forces at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, June 22, 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday urged the international community to take action to deal with the worsening crisis.

"The tragic situation in Venezuela calls out for action. The Venezuelan people are starving while their government tramples their democracy," Haley said in a statement in which she complained about the lack of action from the U.N. Human Rights Council and the Organization of American States.

Maduro has repeatedly rejected such calls for action by the international community. On Thursday, he praised the country's police and national guardsmen for their "heroic'' efforts to maintain public order without the use of firearms. He condemned any excessive use of force while also criticizing the opposition for not renouncing violence and for allegedly using teen demonstrators as human shields.

The United States organized the first-ever U.N. Security Council consultations on Venezuela on May 17 to spotlight the worsening crisis. The U.S. mission to the United Nations said Thursday that it had no immediate plans for additional U.N. action.

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