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Tear gas fired in fresh Venezuela protests

Published on Mar 23, 2014 3:12 PM
 
Anti-government protesters run from tear gas during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in San Cristobal March 22, 2014. Police fired tear gas and made several arrests as 20,000 people marched Saturday, March 23, 2014, in the Venezuelan capital Caracas against what they say is President Nicolas Maduro's heavy-handed repression of dissent. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CARACAS (AFP) - Police fired tear gas and made several arrests as 20,000 people marched Saturday in the Venezuelan capital Caracas against what they say is President Nicolas Maduro's heavy-handed repression of dissent.

At least 31 people have been killed in more than six weeks of student-led protests against the government, representing the biggest challenge yet to Maduro, the elected socialist heir to longtime late president Hugo Chavez.

Maduro and his government have been the target of near-daily protests fueled by public anger over soaring crime, hyperinflation, shortages of such basic goods as toilet paper and further stoked by overzealous police tactics.

Demonstrators are also angry at oil-rich Venezuela's close ties to Cuba, the only Communist one-party state in the Americas.

 
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