Young man shot dead in Venezuela unrest: prosecutors

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Caracas (AFP) – A 23-year-old man was shot in the head in overnight protests in Venezuela, prosecutors said Tuesday, the 25th person to die this month in unrest sparked by a political crisis.

The man was the latest casualty in a wave of street protests against leftwing President Nicolas Maduro, blamed by the opposition for shortages of food and medicine in the oil-rich country.

“The young man was in a demonstration” in northwestern Lara state “when he received a shot to the head that killed him instantly,” the public attorney’s department said in a statement.

Three other people were killed on Monday in the latest day of nationwide protests by opponents demanding elections to remove Maduro from office.

Most demonstrators rallied peacefully but some masked protesters threw stones and clashed with police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

The courts and electoral authorities have fended off efforts to remove Maduro since an opposition majority took over the legislature in January 2016.

Analysts say street protests are now one of the few levers the opposition has for change.

Falling prices for Venezuela’s crucial oil exports have slashed its revenues, leading to critical shortages and outbreaks of looting.

The opposition blames Maduro for the unraveling of the once-booming economy. Maduro says the crisis is a US-backed capitalist conspiracy.

Venezuelan opposition activists clash with police forces during a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, on April 24, 2017
Copyright AFP JUAN BARRETO