Venezuelan opposition announces new anti-Maduro strike
Venezuela's opposition announced a two-day national strike against President Nicolas Maduro after a day of violent clashes in Caracas on Saturday where the injured included a violinist who is a famous face of the protests, Reuters reported.
The opposition Democratic Coalition - which organized a 24-hour shutdown this week that was heeded by millions and paralyzed large swathes of the South American nation - said the next strike would be on Wednesday and Thursday.
Mass marches were also planned for Monday and Friday in an effort to force President Nicolas Maduro into aborting a controversial July 30 election for a new congress.
The fast-escalating political showdown in the South American OPEC nation comes after more than 100 people have died and thousands more injured in anti-government unrest since demonstrations began in April.
"The Venezuelan people are not giving up, they are valiant, they will come out to defend democracy and the constitution," opposition lawmaker Simon Calzadilla said at a news conference flanked by other coalition officials.
Foes accuse Maduro of turning Venezuela into a dictatorship and wrecking what should be a prosperous economy. They want free elections and an end to two decades of socialist rule.
Maduro, 54, calls himself a flag bearer for the international left, up against right-wing "terrorists" seeking a coup with the connivance of the U.S. and the international media.