Riot Police Battle Anti-Maduro Protesters in Caracas, Venezuela — 17-Year-old Protester Killed

Anti-government protesters continued to clash with police in Caracas, Wednesday, as they demonstrated against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

A 17-year-old protester was killed Wednesday, June 7, 2017 as violence surged in ongoing protests demanding President Nicolas Maduro step down in Venezuela.

The fatally injured teenager was identified as Neomar Lander, who was killed while protesters faced off with National Guard troops in Caracas. The death toll related to ongoing protests rose to 66 since April 2017, according to Reuters.

Venezuelan official say Lander was killed when a mortar exploded in his hands, but opposition activists say a tear gas canister was fired directly at him by riot police.

Protesters refuse to rest until President Nicolas Maduro steps down. Food shortages, consumer product shortages, and decreased living standards resulted in protests beginning in 2014 that escalated into daily riots nationwide by 2016. Crime in Venezuela is widespread, with violent crimes such as murder and kidnapping often increasing annually since the days of the leadership of Hugo Chávez.

Vice President Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the president after Hugo Chávez died in 2013. Maduro, like Chávez, has been accused of authoritarian leadership. Conventional media describe Maduro as a dictator.

In 2009, media reported that Venezuelan authorities would assign judicial police to Caracas-area morgues to speak with families to encourage suppression of information about homicides. Venezuelan authorities allegedly advised families not to discuss the homicides of family members with the media in exchange for expeditious recovery of victims’ bodies.

Caracas (pop. 1,943,901) is the capital of Venezuela and the largest city in Venezuela.

VIDEO seconds after explosion that killed Nicolas Maduro [from El National (in Spanish)] …

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