Violent clashes escalate on election day in Venezuela, leaving many dead

Opposition supporters are protesting the controversial new assembly elections, which they see as a power grab by Maduro, who says they are Venezuela's only chance for peace.

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Violent clashes escalate on election day in Venezuela, leaving many dead

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As many as 14 people have been killed in violent clashes between regime forces and protestors in Venezuela, marring Sunday’s election of a controversial new assembly.

Among the dead are an opposition youth leader, a pro-government candidate and a soldier.

The vote, which the opposition sees as a power grab by the president, will see the creation of a constituent assembly with the power to rewrite the constitution and override congress.

Security forces used armored vehicles to disperse demonstrators, and gunfire could be heard across the country.

As voting got underway, protestors took to streets in spite of a government ban, and casualties were reported on both sides.

Three people were shot dead in the state of Tichiria – a soldier from the national guard and two teenagers.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, shortly before polls opened, José Felix Pineda, a 39-year-old lawyer standing in the election, was also reportedly shot dead in his home in Bolivar state.

Ricardo Campos, a youth secretary with the opposition Acción Democrática party, was killed during a protest in the north-eastern town of Cumana, according to prosecutors.

An explosion near a demonstration in Caracas saw a number of police injured and their motorcycles destroyed.

Four months of protests against Maduro have seen more than 100 people lose their lives.