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Venezuela Protests, Clashes Continue After Man Set on Fire

  • VOA News

A demonstrator throws a fire bomb at security forces launching tear gas at an anti-government protest demanding Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro open a so-called humanitarian corridor for the delivery of medicine and food aid, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 22, 2017.

Doctors and medical students took to the streets of Venezuela's capital Monday, the latest in a series of ongoing and increasingly violent street demonstrations, following protests over the weekend in which one man was set on fire.

The protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro have claimed 48 lives since they began more than six weeks ago, including supporters on both sides, bystanders and security personnel.

Witnesses say a man was doused with gasoline and set on fire at a protest in Caracas on Saturday. Some witnesses say the man was targeted because he was trying to steal from the protesters, while Maduro says the man was singled out because he supports the government.

Video shows the man running through the crowd engulfed in flames.

A man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against President Nicolas Maduro runs amidst opposition supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017.
A man who was set on fire by people accusing him of stealing during a rally against President Nicolas Maduro runs amidst opposition supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2017.

Maduro said the 21-year-old man was hospitalized with first- and second-degree burns over much of his body, and also suffered from stab wounds.

Fresh clashes broke out Monday in Caracas between police and protesters who blocked streets with barricades.

Authorities also launched tear gas against doctors and medical students who tried to march to the Health Ministry. The demonstrators are protesting a shortage of medical supplies and are demanding the government open up a foreign humanitarian channel to supply medicine and food to the country.

Venezuela is in the fourth year of a recession caused by a collapse in crucial oil exports that has led to widespread shortages of basic goods, including food and medicine.

Maduro is resisting pressure to hold early elections, calling the economic crisis a U.S.-backed conspiracy. Opponents of Maduro blame his socialist policies for the crisis.

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