A day after three people were killed in demonstrations, scores of Venezuela’s opposition supporters took to the streets again on Thursday to pressure President Nicolas Maduro’s government to hold elections and improve a collapsing economy.
The renewed wave of protests comes after a move by the Supreme Court in March to assume the powers of the opposition-led Congress, which was reversed a few days later.
The tensions in the country have raised after the government barred the opposition’s best-known leader, two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, from holding public office.
The wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, Lilian Tintori, joined protesters urging authorities to put down their weapons.
But government officials have dismissed the protests as violent and lawless efforts to overthrow the government with the backing of ideological adversaries in Washington.
The opposition says Maduro is seeking to stay in power indefinitely by barring opposition leaders from office and quashing independent state institutions.
Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado says Maduro had turned the country in a mafia state.
Government critics allege that the National Guard have used heavy-handed tactics after eight people were killed during protests.
The push to keep up constant demonstrations increasingly mirrors protests in 2014 in which Maduro’s critics barricaded streets and battled police for close to three months.