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Venezuela protest toll climbs to 21

12 March 2014, 08:35

Caracas - The death toll from five weeks of political unrest in Venezuela has climbed to 21 after a student was fatally shot in the city of San Cristobal, authorities said on Tuesday.

Daniel Tinoco, 24, was killed on Monday night in the western city where nationwide protests against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro first ignited 4 February.

Tinoco died from a gunshot wound to the chest, opposition Mayor Daniel Ceballos told AFP.

Ceballos said Tinoco had no vital signs upon arrival at a clinic.

"Two other people who were shot - one in the shoulder and the other in the abdomen - were operated on in the early morning and are in a stable condition," he said.

Ceballos said "masked men on vehicles and motorcycles fired at a group of students".

The mayor "presumed" that the attackers were part of "armed groups that support the government".

The anti-government demonstrations that have rocked Venezuela for more than a month have been fuelled by rising discontent over deteriorating living conditions and police crackdowns in the oil-rich Opec nation.

Since protests began, opposition leaders and government officials have blamed each other for the deadly violence.

On Monday, Maduro reported that authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a Chilean citizen over the weekend during a protest in Venezuela's western city of Merida.

Protests have left more than 300 people wounded and have spread to cities such as Caracas, Merida, Valencia and Maracay.


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