Violent protests mark anniversary of deadly Venezuela clashes

Bnamericas Published: Friday, February 13, 2015

Venezuela's security forces clashed with protesters on Thursday on the one year anniversary of the anti-government demonstrations that resulted in 43 deaths.

In the city of San Cristóbal, in Táchira state on the border with Colombia, national guard soldiers and police officers fired tear gas at young demonstrators armed with rocks, sticks and Molotov cocktails, according to press reports. More than half a dozen protesters and officers were reported injured.

Meanwhile, red-clad supporters of President Nicolás Maduro held a counter-rally in the same downtown Caracas area that saw deadly protests a year earlier.

National guard soldiers carry an injured student during anti-Maduro protests in San Cristóbal (CREDIT: AFP).

Later in the day, Maduro reiterated the claim that his administration had foiled a 2014 coup attempt led by air force officials. According to the Venezuelan leader, the officials – who are in prison – conspired with local political opposition and the US government to overthrow him by launching air attacks on the presidential palace.

Maduro has talked of an "economic war" against his beleaguered administration, which is struggling to control the fallout from the global oil price plunge. A lack of essential goods, such as medicine; a scarcity of basic food items and long lines at markets, and soaring inflation have sparked fears of renewed social tension and protests in the country.

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