Venezuelans Gear up For Major March Against President Nicolas Maduro

Demonstrators clog a Caracas highway on Wednesday shouting their resistance to President Nicolas Maduro. The president's push to tighten his power has helped trigger deadly unrest in Venezuela

Two Venezuelan students died yesterday after being shot during protests against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation amid a crippling economic crisis.

Paola Ramirez, 23, died after being shot by armed men on motorbikes as she was leaving the protest in the city of San Cristobal.

The opposition marched to demand early elections, the release of political prisoners, and humanitarian aid. Before today's demonstration, President Nicolás Maduro - invoking his "defending peace" slogan - accused the opposition of engaging in "violence, conspiracy, [a] coup d'etat, and interventionism".

The opposition says Maduro made it clear to the world he was a dictator when the Supreme Court in late March assumed the functions of the opposition-led Congress.

Socialist Party officials dismiss the opposition marches as efforts to destabilize the government, pointing to protester barricades and vandalism, and have called on supporters to rally around Maduro. Maduro said the hemispheric organization was persecuting his country. The protesters gathered at dozens of neighborhoods around Caracas, and attempted to march to the office of the state ombudsman, but were blocked by military forces as in previous attempts.

According to the Venezuelan leader, the USA government wrote up a coup scenario for opposition leader Julio Borges.

"We are concerned that the government of [President Nicolas] Maduro is violating the Constitution", said Tillerson. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections the opposition was heavily favored to win and cut off a petition drive to force a referendum seeking Maduro's removal before elections late next year. Her boyfriend and mother have both said she was shot down by government supporters chasing her on motorbikes after a protest.

Marchers in the opposition demonstration in Caracas included Liliana Machuca, who earns about $20 a month holding two jobs teaching literature.

Diosdado Cabello, a pro-government congressman, said in a conference aired by state-run channel this Wednesday night that if the opposition keeps attempting to perform a coup on the government, the government will take "irreversible" measures to remain in power, which could mean that they'd admit a dictatorship.

Authorities say a second protester has been killed in anti-government protests taking place across Venezuela. "We'll see who tires out first", she said.

The opposition's leadership called for further protests in communities across Venezuela on Friday, a white-clad "silent" march in Caracas on Saturday to commemorate the eight people killed during unrest this month, and a nationwide "sit-in" blocking Venezuela's main roads on Monday.

Maduro this week said he was dramatically expanding civilian militias created by Chavez and giving each member a gun.

"They're killing us", she said.

Late Tuesday, on national television, Maduro reasserted his earlier claims that the United States is behind opposition marches, saying the U.S. State Department had given the green light for a coup attempt.

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric and repressive stance of the government.

"Those responsible for the criminal repression of peaceful democratic activity, for the undermining of democratic institutions and practices and for gross violations of human rights will be held individually accountable for their actions by the Venezuelan people and their institutions, as well as by the global community", the U.S. State Department said in a statement Tuesday.

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