Venezuelans again take to streets as death toll jumps to 37

Students battled tear gas-throwing police officers in demonstrations across Venezuela's capital Thursday as a two-month-old protest movement that shows no signs of letting up claimed more lives.

"We are students, not terrorists!" a mass of students chanted as they marched in Caracas.

Soldiers bathed hundreds of protesters in tear gas at the Central University of Venezuela, with medics in gas masks attending to students with bloodied faces and limbs.

"Do you know how many dead there are?" Rafaela Requesens, a student leader, shouted at a wall of National Guard officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder and stopping protesters from advancing. "They are your victims."

Gunfire erupted at a student gathering in El Tigre, a city southeast of Caracas, leaving Juan Lopez, 33, dead and three others injured, according to the chief prosecutor's office. Preliminary reports indicate an assailant fired at Lopez toward the end of the meeting and then fled on a motorcycle. Lopez was the president of a university federation.

The student leader's death brought to at least 37 the number killed in Venezuela's ongoing political turmoil.

More than 700 others have been wounded, no small matter in a country with crippling medical shortages. Opposition leaders said 30 were injured in Thursday's student demonstrations. Overall, more than 1,000 have been arrested.

West of Caracas in Valencia, there were reports of looting at several businesses and at least one factory, the thieves taking off with plastic crates filled with bottles and even a forklift.

Back