Venezuela protests turn violent

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden calls Venezuela's situation alarming in remarks published Sunday, suggesting its government is using "armed vigilantes" against peaceful protesters and accusing it of "concocting false and outlandish conspiracy theories" about the United States.

Biden's remarks, issued in writing to a Chilean newspaper in response to questions, drew an angry rebuke from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"We reject their aggression," President Maduro told supporters at a rally the socialist-led government held at the presidential palace. "They were defeated in the OAS and now they want revenge." (AP)


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Demonstrators lie on the ground holding statistics about the people murdered in the 14 years of Chavista government, at a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 7, 2014. Venezuela is coming under increasing international scrutiny amid violence that most recently killed a National Guardsman and a civilian. United Nations human rights experts demanded answers Thursday from Venezuela's government about the use of violence and imprisonment in a crackdown on widespread demonstrations. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Demonstrators lie on the ground holding statistics about the people murdered in the 14 years of Chavista government, at a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 7, 2014. Venezuela is coming under increasing international scrutiny amid violence that most recently killed a National Guardsman and a civilian. United Nations human rights experts demanded answers Thursday from Venezuela's government about the use of violence and imprisonment in a crackdown on widespread demonstrations. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Demonstrators lie on the ground holding statistics about the people murdered in the 14 years of Chavista government, at a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 7, 2014. Venezuela is coming under increasing international scrutiny amid violence that most recently killed a National Guardsman and a civilian. United Nations human rights experts demanded answers Thursday from Venezuela's government about the use of violence and imprisonment in a crackdown on widespread demonstrations. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Supporters of presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), hold up an image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez as they celebrate after partial results were announced by election authorities in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, March 9, 2014. El Salvador's too-close-to-call presidential runoff election has raised competing claims of victory from Ceren, a former fighter for leftist guerrillas and the candidate of the once long-ruling conservative party that fought a civil war from 1980 to 1992. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Supporters of presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), hold up an image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez as they celebrate after partial results were announced by election authorities in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, March 9, 2014. El Salvador's too-close-to-call presidential runoff election has raised competing claims of victory from Ceren, a former fighter for leftist guerrillas and the candidate of the once long-ruling conservative party that fought a civil war from 1980 to 1992. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Supporters of presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), hold up an image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez as they celebrate after partial results were announced by election authorities in San Salvador, El Salvador, Sunday, March 9, 2014. El Salvador's too-close-to-call presidential runoff election has raised competing claims of victory from Ceren, a former fighter for leftist guerrillas and the candidate of the once long-ruling conservative party that fought a civil war from 1980 to 1992. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
An anti-government protester sets up a barricade next to a burning kiosk during a protest at Altamira square in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
An anti-government protester sets up a barricade next to a burning kiosk during a protest at Altamira square in Caracas
An anti-government protester sets up a barricade next to a burning kiosk during a protest at Altamira square in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Anti-government protesters throw flammable items into a burning kiosk, used as barricade, during a protest in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters throw flammable items into a burning kiosk, used as barricade, during a protest in Caracas
Anti-government protesters throw flammable items into a burning kiosk, used as barricade, during a protest in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester reacts to teargas during a protest in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester reacts to teargas during a protest in Caracas
An anti-government protester reacts to teargas during a protest in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at policemen after it was flung at protesters by the police, during a protest in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at policemen during a protest in Caracas
An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at policemen after it was flung at protesters by the police, during a protest in Caracas March 9, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
CORRECTS FROM NATIONAL GUARDSMEN TO POLICE - A demonstrator take cover from tear gas fired by Bolivarian National police during clashes with anti-government protesters in Caracas,Venezuela, Saturday, March 8, 2014. The Venezuelan government and opposition appear to have reached a stalemate, in which street protests continue almost daily while the opposition sits out a peace process it calls farcical. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
CORRECTS FROM NATIONAL GUARDSMEN TO POLICE - A demonstrator take cover from tear gas fired by Bolivarian National police during clashes with anti-government protesters in Caracas,Venezuela, Saturday, March 8, 2014. The Venezuelan government and opposition appear to have reached a stalemate, in which street protests continue almost daily while the opposition sits out a peace process it calls farcical. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
CORRECTS FROM NATIONAL GUARDSMEN TO POLICE - A demonstrator take cover from tear gas fired by Bolivarian National police during clashes with anti-government protesters in Caracas,Venezuela, Saturday, March 8, 2014. The Venezuelan government and opposition appear to have reached a stalemate, in which street protests continue almost daily while the opposition sits out a peace process it calls farcical. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
A national policeman fires tear gas at anti-government protesters hiding in an apartment building during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A national policeman fires tear gas at anti-government protesters hiding in a building during a protest in Caracas
A national policeman fires tear gas at anti-government protesters hiding in an apartment building during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest in Caracas
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A riot policeman shoots tear gas at anti-government protesters during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A riot policeman shoots tear gas at anti-government protesters during a protest in Caracas
A riot policeman shoots tear gas at anti-government protesters during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters run from tear gas during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters run from tear gas during a protest in Caracas
Anti-government protesters run from tear gas during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at policemen after it was flung at protesters by the police, during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at policemen after it was flung at protesters by the police, in Caracas
An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at policemen after it was flung at protesters by the police, during a protest in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protester holds a placard reading:"stop repression" in front of police during a march in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protester holds a placard reading:'stop repression' in front of police during a march in Caracas
Anti-government protester holds a placard reading:"stop repression" in front of police during a march in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters shout slogans after the police attempted to stop their march in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Anti-government protesters shout slogans after the police attempted to stop their march in Caracas
Anti-government protesters shout slogans after the police attempted to stop their march in Caracas March 8, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
REFILE - ADDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Anti-government protesters hold placards with the numbers of deaths by violence per year during a rally against violence in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. Picture rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Anti-government protesters hold placards with the numbers of deaths by violence per year during a rally against violence in Caracas
REFILE - ADDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Anti-government protesters hold placards with the numbers of deaths by violence per year during a rally against violence in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. Picture rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Anti-government protesters hold candles during a rally against violence in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters hold candles during a rally against violence in Caracas
Anti-government protesters hold candles during a rally against violence in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester places candles to form a peace sign during a rally against violence in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester places candles to form a peace sign during a rally against violence in Caracas
An anti-government protester places candles to form a peace sign during a rally against violence in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters throw stones during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters throw stones during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
Anti-government protesters throw stones during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters set fire to a Cuban flag during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters set fire to a Cuban flag during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
Anti-government protesters set fire to a Cuban flag during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 7, 2014. Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A demonstrator runs to throw a molotov bomb against Bolivarian National Police officers during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. A National Guardsman and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash between residents of a Caracas neighborhood and armed men who tried to remove a barricade, Venezuelan officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
A demonstrator runs to throw a molotov bomb against Bolivarian National Police officers during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. A National Guardsman and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash between residents of a Caracas neighborhood and armed men who tried to remove a barricade, Venezuelan officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
A demonstrator runs to throw a molotov bomb against Bolivarian National Police officers during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. A National Guardsman and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash between residents of a Caracas neighborhood and armed men who tried to remove a barricade, Venezuelan officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Bolivarian National Police officers take cover from exploding fireworks launched at them by anti-government demonstrators during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. A National Guardsman and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash between residents of a Caracas neighborhood and armed men who tried to remove a barricade, Venezuelan officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Bolivarian National Police officers take cover from exploding fireworks launched at them by anti-government demonstrators during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. A National Guardsman and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash between residents of a Caracas neighborhood and armed men who tried to remove a barricade, Venezuelan officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Bolivarian National Police officers take cover from exploding fireworks launched at them by anti-government demonstrators during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. A National Guardsman and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash between residents of a Caracas neighborhood and armed men who tried to remove a barricade, Venezuelan officials said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20. Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas
An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20. Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws stones at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20. Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws stones at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas
An anti-government protester throws stones at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20. Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters erect a fiery barricade during clashes with police at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20. Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters erect a fiery barricade during clashes with police at Altamira square in Caracas
Anti-government protesters erect a fiery barricade during clashes with police at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20. Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Bolivarian National Guard armored vehicles arrive during clashes between anti-government protesters and motorcyclists in the Los Ruices neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. Venezuelan officials say a National Guard member and a civilian were killed in the clash between residents and armed men who tried to remove a barricade placed by anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Bolivarian National Guard armored vehicles arrive during clashes between anti-government protesters and motorcyclists in the Los Ruices neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. Venezuelan officials say a National Guard member and a civilian were killed in the clash between residents and armed men who tried to remove a barricade placed by anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Bolivarian National Guard armored vehicles arrive during clashes between anti-government protesters and motorcyclists in the Los Ruices neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. Venezuelan officials say a National Guard member and a civilian were killed in the clash between residents and armed men who tried to remove a barricade placed by anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Men take cover and watch from inside a bakery after the Bolivarian National Guard arrived during clashes between motorcyclists and residents in the Los Ruices neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. Venezuelan officials say a National Guard member and a civilian were killed in the clash between residents and armed men who tried to remove a barricade placed by anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Men take cover and watch from inside a bakery after the Bolivarian National Guard arrived during clashes between motorcyclists and residents in the Los Ruices neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. Venezuelan officials say a National Guard member and a civilian were killed in the clash between residents and armed men who tried to remove a barricade placed by anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Men take cover and watch from inside a bakery after the Bolivarian National Guard arrived during clashes between motorcyclists and residents in the Los Ruices neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 6, 2014. Venezuelan officials say a National Guard member and a civilian were killed in the clash between residents and armed men who tried to remove a barricade placed by anti-government protesters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
National guards run during riots in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist were killed in a standoff with opposition demonstrators who had set up a barricade along an avenue of Caracas, the vice president of the ruling Socialist Party said on Thursday. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro have for weeks been staging rallies and setting up barricades, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. At least 20 have been killed. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
National guards run during riots in Caracas
National guards run during riots in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist were killed in a standoff with opposition demonstrators who had set up a barricade along an avenue of Caracas, the vice president of the ruling Socialist Party said on Thursday. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro have for weeks been staging rallies and setting up barricades, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. At least 20 have been killed. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
National guards detain a protester during riots in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist were killed in a standoff with opposition demonstrators who had set up a barricade along an avenue of Caracas, the vice president of the ruling Socialist Party said on Thursday. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro have for weeks been staging rallies and setting up barricades, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. At least 20 have been killed. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
National guards detain a protester during riots in Caracas
National guards detain a protester during riots in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist were killed in a standoff with opposition demonstrators who had set up a barricade along an avenue of Caracas, the vice president of the ruling Socialist Party said on Thursday. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro have for weeks been staging rallies and setting up barricades, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. At least 20 have been killed. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters throw stones at riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 5, 2014. Followers of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez flooded the streets of Venezuela on Wednesday for the anniversary of his death, an emotional but welcome distraction for his successor from violent protests raging for the last month. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
Photos of the day - March 6, 2014
Anti-government protesters throw stones at riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 5, 2014. Followers of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez flooded the streets of Venezuela on Wednesday for the anniversary of his death, an emotional but welcome distraction for his successor from violent protests raging for the last month. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
A man runs with a baby to take cover from teargas and stones during riots in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist were killed in a standoff with opposition demonstrators who had set up a barricade along an avenue of Caracas, the vice president of the ruling Socialist Party said on Thursday. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro have for weeks been staging rallies and setting up barricades, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. At least 20 have been killed. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A man runs with a baby to take cover from teargas and stones during riots in Caracas
A man runs with a baby to take cover from teargas and stones during riots in Caracas March 6, 2014. A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist were killed in a standoff with opposition demonstrators who had set up a barricade along an avenue of Caracas, the vice president of the ruling Socialist Party said on Thursday. Demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro have for weeks been staging rallies and setting up barricades, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters. At least 20 have been killed. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Demonstrators display a Venezuelan flag during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Since mid-February, anti-government activists have been protesting high inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, and violent crime in a nation with the world's largest proven oil reserves.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Demonstrators display a Venezuelan flag during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Since mid-February, anti-government activists have been protesting high inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, and violent crime in a nation with the world's largest proven oil reserves.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Demonstrators display a Venezuelan flag during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Since mid-February, anti-government activists have been protesting high inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, and violent crime in a nation with the world's largest proven oil reserves.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
An anti-government protester uses a slingshot to shoot stones during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 3, 2014. Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged sympathizers on Monday to maintain street protests against President Nicolas Maduro as the country's foreign minister prepared to meet the United Nations Secretary General. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester uses a slingshot to shoot stones during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
An anti-government protester uses a slingshot to shoot stones during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 3, 2014. Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged sympathizers on Monday to maintain street protests against President Nicolas Maduro as the country's foreign minister prepared to meet the United Nations Secretary General. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 3, 2014. Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged sympathizers on Monday to maintain street protests against President Nicolas Maduro as the country's foreign minister prepared to meet the United Nations Secretary General. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
Anti-government protesters clash with riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 3, 2014. Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged sympathizers on Monday to maintain street protests against President Nicolas Maduro as the country's foreign minister prepared to meet the United Nations Secretary General. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister after it was fired by riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 3, 2014. Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged sympathizers on Monday to maintain street protests against President Nicolas Maduro as the country's foreign minister prepared to meet the United Nations Secretary General. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister after it was fired by riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
An anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister after it was fired by riot police during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 3, 2014. Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez urged sympathizers on Monday to maintain street protests against President Nicolas Maduro as the country's foreign minister prepared to meet the United Nations Secretary General. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A demonstrator shouts slogans against Bolivarian National Guards during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Since mid-February, anti-government activists have been protesting high inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, and violent crime in a nation with the world's largest proven oil reserves. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
A demonstrator shouts slogans against Bolivarian National Guards during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Since mid-February, anti-government activists have been protesting high inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, and violent crime in a nation with the world's largest proven oil reserves. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
A demonstrator shouts slogans against Bolivarian National Guards during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Since mid-February, anti-government activists have been protesting high inflation, shortages of food stuffs and medicine, and violent crime in a nation with the world's largest proven oil reserves. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
REFILE WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION An anti-government protester walks with a makeshift shield amidst tear gas during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas March 2, 2014. While many Venezuelans went to the beach to enjoy the Carnival holiday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in the capital on Sunday, trying to keep up the momentum from weeks of protests demanding Maduro resign. "GRI", written on the shield, refers to protest group "guarimba de reaccion inmediata" (Protest for Immediate Reaction). REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
An anti-government protester walks with a makeshift shield amidst tear gas during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas
REFILE WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION An anti-government protester walks with a makeshift shield amidst tear gas during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas March 2, 2014. While many Venezuelans went to the beach to enjoy the Carnival holiday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in the capital on Sunday, trying to keep up the momentum from weeks of protests demanding Maduro resign. "GRI", written on the shield, refers to protest group "guarimba de reaccion inmediata" (Protest for Immediate Reaction). REUTERS/Jorge Silva (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters try to recover after being overcome by tear gas during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 2, 2014. While many Venezuelans went to the beach to enjoy the Carnival holiday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in the capital on Sunday, trying to keep up the momentum from weeks of protests demanding President Nicolas Maduro resign. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters try to recover after being overcome by tear gas during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
Anti-government protesters try to recover after being overcome by tear gas during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 2, 2014. While many Venezuelans went to the beach to enjoy the Carnival holiday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in the capital on Sunday, trying to keep up the momentum from weeks of protests demanding President Nicolas Maduro resign. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters take cover behind make-shift shields during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 2, 2014. While many Venezuelans went to the beach to enjoy the Carnival holiday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in the capital on Sunday, trying to keep up the momentum from weeks of protests demanding President Nicolas Maduro resign. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Anti-government protesters take cover behind make-shift shields during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
Anti-government protesters take cover behind make-shift shields during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas March 2, 2014. While many Venezuelans went to the beach to enjoy the Carnival holiday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in the capital on Sunday, trying to keep up the momentum from weeks of protests demanding President Nicolas Maduro resign. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

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