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Protesters Continue To Die In Venezuela As Government Starts Detaining Opposition Politicians

The death toll has risen to at least 31 after six weeks of anti-government protests. Meanwhile, the government is arresting opposition mayors.

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On Wednesday, March 19, a municipal worker and student were killed in protest-related violence in the western state of Tachira. A National Guard member died on March 17 after he was shot in the head the day before at a protest in the city of Maracay.

The protests and violence have massively disrupted daily life. On Thursday, Venezuelan security detained mayor Daniel Ceballos on charges of inciting violence. Ceballos is the mayor of San Cristobal, where opposition protests first broke out.


A day earlier, the Venezuelan Supreme Court sentenced another opposition mayor, Enzo Scarano of San Diego, to 10 months and 15 days in jail after he failed to comply with previous orders to take down barricades.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Venezuela's congress called for a criminal investigation into opposition deputy Maria Corina Machado for alleged "treason" related to work with the anti-government protests. Machado has been a visible leader in the demonstrations.

The day before, supporters of Venezuela’s jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez read a letter from him at a rally for his release in Caracas."I send my deepest admiration of the Venezuelan people for its peaceful protest on the streets,” he wrote.

Leo Ramirez/AFP

"I call on the country to keep the pressure on," Lopez wrote from jail, where he has been for a month.

Police have largely responded to the weeks of unrest with violence and arrests. Maduro has continually dismissed protestors as "fascists," and part of a U.S.-funded effort to undermine Venezuela.

As the violence continues, Air Canada announced that it was suspending its Venezuela flights for security reasons. In response, the Venezuelan government said Tuesday that it would cut commercial relations with Air Canada.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at

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