Venezuelans protest after opposition leader sidelined by Maduro

Venezuelans protest after opposition leader sidelined by Maduro

As the sea of protesters approached the headquarters of state-run PDVSA oil company, they were met by rubber bullets and a curtain of eye-scorching tear gas, some of it a never-before-seen red color.

The opposition blames Maduro for the economic crisis.

Venezuela's powerful new vice president, Tareck El Aissami, declared Saturday's demonstration "illegal and unconstitutional", because the opposition had not received official permission for it.

The recent opposition violence has resembled the infamous right-wing Guarimbas protests which blockaded streets in Febuary 2014 in an attempt to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Capriles has said he will continue in his post as governor of Miranda state and will appeal against the ban.

Violence erupted for a third straight day on Thursday at protests against Maduro, leaving one demonstrator dead.

A Molotov cocktail burns next to Venezuelan Bolivarian National Police officers during a protest in Caracas, April 8, 2017. Both are pro-government and unlikely to overturn the decision.

The opposition, which accuses ombudsman Tarek Saab of being a puppet of Maduro's government, was blocked on Thursday from marching to the ombudsman's office.

Other government ministries are located there, and support for Maduro is strong among downtown residents. Opposition leaders say it is an arbitrary mechanism that allows the ruling Socialist Party to sideline popular politicians without due process. But he urged his supporters not to be distracted by tough language coming from "Capriloca", a play on the Spanish word for "crazy". Several worldwide human rights organizations have called on Maduro to release Lopez and other political prisoners.

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The Italian scored two minutes after replacing the concussed Billy Jones, who was carried from the pitch while being given oxygen. When asked if goal difference will be important this season, Pochettino said: "It's so important".

Lopez had been expected to challenge late leader Hugo Chavez in the 2012 presidential election but handed the baton over to Capriles, who lost that vote and another against Maduro in 2013 after Chavez's death.

Speaking at the rally on Saturday, Capriles told supporters: "Nobody can disqualify the Venezuelan people".

Still, others have been motivated by the escalating political crisis and the opposition coalition putting on a more dynamic and coordinated front than usual.

"There is no plan B for them, repression is all they have left", he said. "Unfortunately, if there has to be bloodshed for the government to change, it won't be the first time in history", he said.

He was considered the opposition's best hope of defeating Socialist President Nicolas Maduro in elections scheduled for 2018.

"This thing that they just did to Capriles is the product of tyranny", said Adel Rincones, 61, who clutched a sign that read "Venezuela is wounded in the heart with hunger, misery, corruption, dictatorship".

"(This move) is typical of a dictatorship that violates civil and political rights", said Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, who has called for sanctions against Venezuela if it does not hold elections.

Last year another prominent opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez was sentenced to almost 14 years in prison on charges of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014. "The opposition is clearly fired up and this will further their cause".

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