Sixty-nine people have been killed in Venezuela since April 1 as result of numerous, violent protests held against the nation's leader Nicolas Maduro, head of the Venezuelan non-governmental organization, Foro Penal (Penal Forum), Alfredo Romero, said Tuesday, Sputnik reported.
"The total of 69 people includes those who have died as a result of looting and those who have died as result of accidents on the barricades," Romero said, as quoted by Venezuela's El Cooperante newspaper.
Venezuela entered into turbulent times in January 2016, when a new legislature was elected and relations between Maduro and the parliament became strained.
In October, the National Assembly voted to initiate impeachment proceedings against Maduro. In January 2017, the parliament declared that Maduro abandoned his post as result of refusing to carry out his duties. The Supreme Court of Justice, however, stated that the National Assembly does not have the constitutional powers to declare abandonment. Maduro classified the parliament’s actions as a coup attempt.
In late March, the Venezuelan Supreme Court decided to restrict the power of the state’s National Assembly. The decision was immediately reversed amid backlash, but supporters of the opposition-controlled parliament, who strive for the dismissal of the court members, took to the streets on April 4, marking the start of a series of protests.