Violent clashes have once again erupted on the streets of Caracas during anti-government protests.
One person is thought to have died and as many as 250 others injured .
Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles was among those tear-gassed by soldiers who were trying to control the protest that blocked a highway.
His bodyguards helped him get out of the scrum of protesters. Capriles says soldiers assaulted members of his team as they tried to move away from the crowd.
The demonstrators had been trying to make their way to a government office in the centre of Caracas, but were blocked by hundreds of soldiers in riot gear and armored cars.
“We are out on the streets because the government has closed the doors of democracy, that is why we are out on the streets. There is no food, there is no medicine and on top of this he (Maduro) doesn’t want people to vote. So what can people do? They do what they are doing today and what is the government’s response ? Yesterday the defense minister said the soldiers had not attacked anyone. My god, here they have.”
President Nicolas Maduro claims the opposition is responsible for the violence and he has accused the US of sponsoring the unrest which has been growing since the start of April.
“Something worse and more horrifying than the government of Barack Obama has arrived, it is the government of Mr Donald Trump […] and They have given an order to US supporters to destroy Venezuela however they can, to hand it over on a silver platter to foreign intervention, which we reject. We will reject it with our very lives if needed, for the future of our country,” Maduro told supporters.
At least 59 people have died in the seemingly daily protests which began in April. Opposition leaders blame Maduro for running the economy into the ground and of trying to cling on to power at all costs.