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Venezuela: At least one killed in Caracas during protests June 19 /update 8

Protesters clash with police in Caracas on June 19: at least one person killed and 48 injured

TIMEFRAME expected from 19/6/2017, 12h30 until 23/6/2017, 5h22 (America/Caracas). COUNTRY/REGION Northern Venezuela

Event

Opposition supporters continue to hold regular protests in Caracas. On Monday, June 19, demonstrators attempted to march to the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE), resulting in clashes with security forces. At least one person was killed and three others were wounded by gunfire in Altamira in the Chacao municipality. It is unclear who opened fire on the protesters, but opposition members blamed the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB). At least 48 other people were injured during clashes with security forces on Monday, including in Salud Chacao and Baruta. This most recent death is part of the wave of often-violent (and violently-repressed) protests, held in cities across the country, that has resulted in at least 75 deaths and thousands of arrests since April 1.

A number of countries, including Brazil, reportedly halted the sale of tear gas and other riot-control equipment to the government of President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday, June 18. The Brazilian government decided to halt the shipment of tear gas grenades as the number of protest-related fatalities has increased

Context

Government forces have reportedly stepped up brutal tactics; cases of protesters - including MPs, judges, and journalists - being harassed, robbed, and attacked by security forces and pro-government militias have been reported. The militarized Venezuelan National Guard police force is considered the worst offender in terms of resorting to disproportional violence when dealing with opposition elements.

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. 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.

Advice

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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