200,000 Venezuelans Mark 50 Days of Protest Against Maduro

200,000 Venezuelans Mark 50 Days of Protest Against Maduro200,000 Venezuelans Mark 50 Days of Protest Against Maduro

More than 200,000 protesters took to the streets of Venezuela on Saturday, day 50 of an angry and sometimes deadly showdown with the unpopular President Nicolas Maduro.

As with many of the previous marches in the crisis-hit country, police fired tear gas at protesters in the capital suffering from dire shortages of the most basic of goods, AFP reported.

The opposition blames Maduro for the economic mess in oil-rich Venezuela, demanding early elections to replace the socialist who took over from the late Hugo Chavez. Seven weeks of street protests have left 47 people dead.

“In Caracas alone, some 160,000 marched through the city trying to reach the Interior Ministry in the city center,” said Edinson Ferrer, spokesman for the opposition coalition MUD, citing a preliminary estimate.

Police fired tear gas and broke up the demonstration, and protesters responded by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

At least 46 people were injured in the eastern district of Chacao, the authorities said, including a woman hit by a vehicle.

The protesters blame Maduro for shortages of food, medicine and such basics as soap and even toilet paper, saying he is maneuvering to dodge calls for early elections.

“This has been a massacre against the people,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said before the march got underway.

“Still, the more repression there is, the more we will resist and fight for Venezuela,” he added.

One of Capriles’s lawyers delivered a report on the Venezuelan crisis to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday after Venezuelan officials “canceled” the opposition leader’s passport, preventing him from flying to New York.

The turnout for Saturday’s demonstrations came close to the biggest rally during seven weeks of protests, when several hundred thousand people came out on April 19.

Venezuela is bitterly divided as locals bridle under all the shortages, soaring inflation—prices could rise by 720% this year, the IMF estimates—and some of the world’s highest crime rates.

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