Protesters throw eggs and other objects at Venezuelan President Maduro

Angry Venezuelans threw eggs, mangos, and other objects at President Nicolas Maduro during a rally on Tuesday, as protests mount against the unpopular leftist leader amid a brutal economic crisis and what critics say is his lurch into dictatorship.

State television footage showed a crowd mobbing the vehicle that Maduro was standing on as he waved goodbye at the end of a military event in San Felix, in the south-eastern state of Bolivar. Amid the commotion, people threw objects at Maduro, who was wearing a traditional Venezuelan suit and a yellow-blue-red presidential sash, while his bodyguards scrambled. The state broadcaster then halted transmission.

In a separate video shared on social media, voices yelling “Damn you!” were heard as the vehicle apparently transporting Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, tried to make its way through the crowd.

Five males, aged 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20, were arrested for throwing “sharp objects” against Maduro’s vehicle, according to a report by a local National Guard division.

The opposition, which has been protesting in the last two weeks to demand early elections, pounced on the incident as evidence that Maduro is deeply despised amid food shortages and spiraling inflation. “The dictator only needs to leave Miraflores (presidential palace) to see how the people repudiate him!” opposition lawmaker Francisco Sucre, from the state of Bolivar, said on Twitter amid a flurry of commentary on social media.

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