Fifth protester killed as Venezuela unrest intensifies

A demonstrator protesting against President Nicolas Maduro's government throws back a tear gas grenade at riot police in Caracas

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has been pelted with objects by angry protesters as he left a military event.

Mr Maduro foes were galvanised by footage of a crowd in the south-eastern Bolivar state heckling and throwing objects at the closely-protected leader during a rally on Tuesday, before state television cut off the broadcast. Reports on social media said the projectiles included eggs and stones.

Opposition activists accuse police and the National Guard of indiscriminate use of tear gas, including at clinics, and arbitrarily detaining people for simply being within the vicinity of protests.

The opposition says Maduro has morphed into a dictator after a Supreme Court decision in late March to assume the functions of the opposition-led congress. "We're having a bad time".

Venezuelans have been suffering food and medicine shortages for months, leading many to skip meals or go without crucial treatment.

Dozens of police in riot gear stormed into his neighborhood as dawn broke to reestablish order and stop the looting of local stores. The decision was later overturned, but it nevertheless sent protesters out to the streets.

Two 19-year-old students were killed during earlier unrest, one on April 6 and one on April 11, according to authorities.

"We need to get out on the street and fight, to tell these people we don't want them", said Maria Guedez, a 67-year-old homemaker carrying a sign that read, "No more dictatorship".

Opposition leaders seized on the videos of Maduro being harassed at the official event as evidence he can no longer travel freely in his own land.

"Leave already, Maduro. Wherever you go here, people hate you", two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said on Twitter.

The nationwide protests are the first sustained wave of anti-government demonstrations to hit the country in past three years.

The OECS Commission in announcing the continuation of the summit here gave no indication that Maduro, who is facing tremendous opposition at home over his government policies, would meet with the leaders.

CARACAS, April 12 Venezuela and its state oil company PDVSA on Wednesday made $2.6 billion in bond payments, the OPEC country's vice president said on Wednesday, fulfilling heavy debt service that has contributed to the country's economic crisis. Instead, the unrest intensified, with the opposition calling on their supporters to join them for mass.

Government supporters at a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday. Government opponents have taken to the streets across the country and have clashed with government forces. Some are armed and some are agressive. Opposition members also distributed a picture of an expired tear gas canister they said was found detonated at a previous demonstration.

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