Death toll reaches 26 as political protests in Venezuela continue

Two men have become the latest to die in political violence in Venezuela, bring the number of fatalities in recent weeks up to 26. 

The state prosecutor’s office in the western state of Lara said Orlando Medina, 23, was gunned down in a protest against the rule of President Nicolas Maduro. Meanwhile, 52-year-old Luis Marquez died in the Andean state of Merida in the early hours of Tuesday morning after being shot at a pro-Maduro rally, state ombudsman Tarek Saab said. 

15 people have died in violence around demonstrations and 11 others in night-time lootings, the state prosecutor's office said on Tuesday. Four of those killed were teenagers.

Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested, with 801 still detained as of Tuesday, rights group Penal Forum said.

The opposition, led by the Democratic Unity coalition, is attempting to keep up pressure on Mr Maduro and is planning a march on Wednesday in the capital Caracas. Past attempts to reach that area have been blocked by security forces using teargas and rubber bullets against protesters.

"The Venezuelan people will stay in the street until there is an election timetable, a humanitarian aid channel, freedom for political prisoners and independence for public institutions, especially the National Assembly," said Ismael Garcia, a legislator with opposition party Justice First.

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