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Venezuela's Maduro calls for talks with opposition, local elections

Venezuela's Maduro calls for talks with opposition, local elections”

213653213655213655Venezuelan protesters demand new electionsFor the past three weeks in Venezuela, protesters have demanded President Nicolas Maduro schedule new elections and do more to address the country's long-running economic crisis. They turned the road into a kind of public plaza, with protesters laying out picnics, reading books and reclining under umbrellas they brought to protect them from the blazing Caribbean sun.

The protest movement is entering its fourth week, and has become increasingly deadly.

The spark that set off the near-daily protests was an attempt by the Supreme Court to take over the powers of the opposition-dominated Congress.

"Peaceful protests across the country will continue until Mr Maduro respects the constitution and ends his internal coup", senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles tweeted Monday. "We're resisting because we want peace, tranquility, we want to be with our families again".

Forty seven-year-old Carrillo was hit in the head with a frozen water bottle that was thrown from a high floor in a building while she was walking next to a group of Maduro supporters during a pro-government march in the La Candelaria neighborhood in central Caracas.

Those killed include protesters and bystanders struck by gunfire and a dozen dead Friday in overnight clashes and looting that destroyed more than two dozen businesses.

Retired professor Lisbeth Colina said she made a decision to participate in the sit-in for her grandchildren.

"Let it be heard: The dictatorship is in its final days", said Maria Corina Machado, who was stripped of her seat in congress in 2014. "We must remain in the streets".

Venezuelan opposition activists march in a quiet show of condemnation of the government of President NIcolas Maduro, in the border state of Tachira-San Cristobal, on April 22, 2017.

Maduro said Sunday he wanted the regional elections "now" but did not indicate a possible date for those or local ballots that are due this year.

"The party's elected representatives have also gone so far as to play the part of sham observers in elections which have been subject to overt manipulation by the regime and then ignored".

They also accused Maduro of using dialogues to buy more time and thereby delaying elections. "We are taking a stand so that Maduro knows he has to go", said Amalia Duran, a housewife of 41.

But for the first since the protests began, demonstrators managed to cross from the wealthier eastern side of Caracas to the traditionally pro-government west without encountering resistance from state security.



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