Anti-Maduro protests continue in Venezuela

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Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro staged sit-ins and roadblocks across Venezuela on Monday, May 15, to press for elections, sparking new unrest.

Demonstrators have been on the streets daily since early April to demand elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign humanitarian aid to offset an economic crisis, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled legislature.

Maduro accuses them of seeking a violent coup.

At least 38 people have died, including protesters, government sympathizers, bystanders and security forces, during six weeks of protests in Venezuela. Hundreds have been hurt and arrested.

The current wave of protests, which have attracted hundreds of thousands of demonstrators on some days, has drawn greater support from the poor, who backed late leader Hugo Chavez massively but have soured on Maduro, his successor, and suffered the most from four years of recession.

But the main protests have still been in middle-class areas.

Maduro, 54, who narrowly won election in 2013 after Chavez’s death, says he is the victim of an international right-wing conspiracy that has already brought down leftist governments in Brazil, Argentina and Peru in recent years. (Reuters)

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