2 killed amid massive anti-government marches in Venezuela

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On Wednesday, two people were shot dead as thousands of Venezuelans took part in protests against Mr Maduro demanding fresh elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians.

There are no reports on how Maduro's regime plans to use his newly armed supporters to counter the demonstrations in the future.

Maduro, who says recent protests have been little more than opposition efforts to foment violence and topple his government, has called on sympathizers of the ruling Socialist Party to hold a competing march in Caracas.

The teenager, later identified as Carlos Moreno, died while undergoing surgery, a hospital representative told CNN. In the past, the groups known as collectives have operated like shock troops firing on protesters as security forces stand by.

Saab's office said he would not comment on the case while investigations were taking place.

The Bolivarian National Police (PNB) used tear gas and rubber bullets along the Francisco Fajardo Highway, the capital's main artery, to try and contain the demonstration there, as well as to disperse other concentrations of protesters in western Caracas.

One looming question for investors like China and Russian Federation is whether, if and when Maduro is no longer in office, Venezuela's next administration will similarly honor the terms of their respective deals, or if the new leaders would be more inclined to default.

"They've got the right to march but marching isn't burning stuff, throwing rocks", said Jahil Marcano, a 48-year-old construction worker who had joined the pro-government rally. Only the military, police, and groups like security companies can buy guns and only directly from one state-run arms company under the law passed in 2012, according to the BBC.

"We're convinced the country knows who the true coup mongers are, and it's against them we will march", the opposition said in a Tuesday late-night statement.

On Monday, 11 Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, called on Venezuela's government to respect the constitutional right to peaceful protest.

"If we were millions today, tomorrow we'll be more", Mr Capriles added.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is "concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to. organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people".

Some unhappy Venezuelans also steer clear of protests, fearful of violence, cynical that marches can bring about change, or too busy looking for food amid the recession. I love this land that gave me education, work and well-being. A USA state department official has said that they are concerned with the state of Venezuela's democracy and that the country should continue to talk to the opposition as well as hold elections as soon as possible.

Liliana Machuca, a teacher in Caracas told the AP she believes protesting is her only option after all the "abuses" she says have been committed by the government. While analysts are getting anxious about what they see as increasingly distressed payments, some investors are betting on the country's "surreal" ability to pay and keep inking new deals with Caracas.

Maduro this week said he was dramatically expanding civilian militias created by the late Hugo Chavez and giving each member a gun.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been battling lawmakers for control over the nation's finances since the opposition won control of the National Assembly in December 2015 elections, riding a wave of anger over triple-digit inflation and chronic shortages of basic staples.

Maduro's camp has vowed not to be outdone by the opposition.

"The government is not working". The authorities say they will not allow the protesters into the area, where the rival rally will be held.

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