2 dead as Venezuela protests turn violent outside capital

Opposition leaders and mothers marched in Caracas on Mother's Day using the hashtag #SueltaTuArma, or "put down your weapons", in an appeal to members of Venezuela's National Guard and police not to engage in violence against protesters.

The state of economic emergency was implemented in the first place when the Bolivarian government declared that an economic war was being waged against the Venezuelan people.

In the central state of Carabobo, authorities said three police officers had been injured, including one left in a critical condition. State security officers unleashed clouds of white tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

The deaths have included protesters, government sympathizers, bystanders and security forces, during six weeks of protests.

This demographic backed late leader Hugo Chavez massively but have soured on Maduro, his successor, and suffered the most from four years of recession.

Few arrests have been made and the death toll is fast approaching the violence seen during protests in 2014.

But the main protests have still been in middle-class areas.

Maduro's government is facing pressure from its neighbors as well as from worldwide community to control the unrest.

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Maduro "is pushing you as an institution to ignore the constitutional order of Venezuela and you have to stop that situation", Julio Borges, the lawmaker, said at a news conference Sunday.

"Another crime CNN will unfairly attribute to Nicolas Maduro", Information Minister Ernesto Villegas tweeted of the original report of the death of the policeman - which turned out to be false. Since early April, at least 38 people have died and many more have been injured in clashes between opponents and backers of President Nicolas Maduro's government. European Union foreign ministers said Monday that "violence and the use of force will not resolve the crisis in the country".

The blockades of major roads in Caracas is part of the opposition's strategy to vary tactics and keep up momentum in popular calls against the president.

The fiery Venezuelan president is vowing to resolve his nation's crisis by convening a special assembly to rewrite the nation's constitution, while the opposition is demanding an immediate presidential election. The OAS floated the idea of the meeting last month, prompting Venezuela to announce plans to withdraw from the group.

Dissatisfied Venezuelans have taken to the streets to demand that the socialist Maduro schedule long-delayed elections, release political prisoners and permit the delivery of humanitarian aid.

"We will thrash them!" he predicted, though pollsters widely foresee defeat for the ruling Socialist Party at any open vote.

The court later backtracked amid an worldwide outcry but protests resumed after Maduro called May 1 for creating a body to rewrite of the constitution.

"Right now, I'd say this very weak government is utterly dependent on the military", Phil Gunson, a Venezuela specialist with the International Crisis Group, tells Reeves.

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