Anti-government protests continued for the 51st consecutive day on Sunday, May 21, throughout the country, with violent clashes between rival demonstrators and security forces reported in a number of cities. President Nicolás Maduro accused opposition supporters of setting a pro-government demonstrator on fire in Caracas on Saturday, May 20. In Barinas, the home province of former President Hugo Chavez, protesters reportedly looted stores and damaged buildings after erecting barricades on the main city streets on May 21. Media sources also reported that two people were shot and killed in the city during clashes with security forces. Meanwhile in Valera, gunmen allegedly opened fire on demonstrators.
The following day, Monday, May 22, violence continued in Barinas, with the headquarters of the Socialist Party burned and reports that one protester was killed. Medical professionals also held a march in Caracas on Monday to protest against the shortage of medical supplies. The doctors attempted to move to the Health Ministry building but were blocked by riot police who used tear gas to disperse the crowds. According to media and government sources as of May 22, at least 51 people had been killed, 13,000 wounded, and 2000 detained amid the wave of unrest that has stricken the country in recent months. Additional protests and violence should be expected.
For nearly two months, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across the country have been denouncing a wide range of grievances as well as demanding elections be held in mass protests and marches, some of which have resulted in violent clashes with police and military forces. Venezuela has been devastated by a long series of progressively worsening crises affecting the restive country in recent months and years, including a breakdown of the democratic system, major shortages of gasoline, medications, food, and other basic necessities, an alarming spike in rates of violent crime, massive inflation and economic recession, and a resurgence of disease.
Individuals in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities are advised to limit movements, to strictly avoid all protests and roadblocks due to the likelihood of violence, and to closely monitor the situation.
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