Death Toll Mounts in Venezuela Protests

The streets of Venezuela’s capital were scenes of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces once again Wednesday.

One person was killed and dozens were injured as national guardsmen tear-gassed protesters in Caracas as they tried to march to the Supreme Court.

Protesters lobbed bottles filled with feces at government troops armed with tear gas and water cannons.

Death toll at least 39

Local politician Ramon Muchacho said 84 people have been hospitalized.

At least 39 people have been killed since the protests began last month. Wednesday’s victim was Miguel Castillo, a 27-year-old recent graduate of Santa Maria University.

Another man also died Wednesday, two days after being shot in the head in a protest in the western city of Merida.

Tensions have heightened since President Nicolas Maduro began a push last week to hold a special assembly to rewrite the constitution. Opposition leaders charge the move is a ploy to keep the president and his allies in power.

President blames opposition

Maduro has blamed the country’s opposition for stoking violence to remove him from power with the help of the United States.

The oil-rich South American nation has been facing an economic crisis since world oil prices dropped, leaving the population plagued by rising crime, vast shortages of food and medical supplies, and triple-digit inflation.

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