Violent and often deadly clashes between protesters and security forces continue to occur on a near-daily basis in Venezuela, most notably in the capital city of Caracas. At least 75 people have been killed and 1000 more injured in social unrest since the beginning of the current wave of anti-government protests began in early April of this year. The vast majority of the victims have been killed by security forces, who have repeatedly been accused of excessive use of force, and the situation continues to escalate with no resolution in sight. Pro-government militias are also reportedly behind some of the violence, including an attempted attack against the National Assembly (AN) building in Caracas on June 24 (the AN is controlled by an opposition coalition). The protests also regularly result in major transportation disruptions in the capital, with roads, highways, and the metro system closed by police and/or blocked by protesters.
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. Protesters are demanding early elections, the resignation of President Nicolás Maduro, the release of political prisoners, and humanitarian assistance from the government.
Amid the chaos, President Maduro announced his intention to rewrite the constitution via a new Constituent Assembly to be elected on July 30. Opposition forces criticize the move as an attempt by the regime to hijack the protest movement and to "eliminate" the legitimate National Assembly, controlled by an opposition coalition but essentially rendered powerless.
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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