Killing of teenager pushes Venezuela protest death toll to 40

Protests in Caracas against President Nicolas Maduro remained mostly tranquil, but outside the capital demonstrators clashed with police and national guardsmen.

Authorities thwarted an opposition push for a referendum a year ago and have also delayed state gubernatorial elections.

Monday saw the latest in weeks of violence as opponents mounted fresh demonstrations against Maduro. A bystander rips open his blue T-shirt, revealing a bloody wound underneath. "They killed him!" someone screams.

The message was posted the day after 17-year-old violinist Armando CaƱizales was killed when violence erupted between protesters and the national guard at a rally. White tear gas and rubber bullets were used on the protesters, the Associated Press reported.

The nationwide anti-government demonstrations launched 45 days ago have turned violent in some cases, with the toll now standing at 39 dead, hundreds injured and more than 2,000 people arrested. Hundreds were injured across the country, including one young woman in a white shirt in Caracas, who stood on a street as blood streamed down her face.

In the central state of Cojedes, groups of people riding horses joined the procession of protest. A police officer in Carabobo is also in critical condition after being shot in the head. In the state of Lara west of Caracas, investigators were dispatched after three people were run over by a vehicle at a protest.

The violence added to mounting bloodshed as Venezuela's opposition vows to step up near-daily demonstrations and as Maduro shows no intention of conceding to opposition demands.

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Demonstrators clashed with police and national guardsmen, throwing rocks and setting an armored truck on fire. More than three-dozen people have been killed, hundreds injured and as many as 2,000 detained in almost seven weeks of protests.

The Organization of American States will hold another special session to discuss Venezuela's spiraling political crisis later this month. The Washington-based group's secretary, Luis Almagro, issued a statement Tuesday renewing his call for Venezuela to hold an early presidential election.

Protesters also oppose his plans to elect an assembly - and do it sidestepping the country's political parties - to overhaul the constitution, dismissing it as a way to put off elections.

Venezuela has been gripped by soaring inflation and severe shortages of basic food and medical supplies, as its economy slips into ruin.

The national sit-in comes as part of the agenda of opposition demonstrations that were launched after the Supreme Court, which supports the government, took over numerous opposition-controlled Parliament's functions.

Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said the opposition would take its protests "to another stage" as Maduro continues his push to rewrite the nation's constitution.

"We are against this fraudulent process", Capriles said on his radio broadcast.

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