CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Students held demonstrations across Caracas Thursday as a two-month-old protest movement that shows no signs of letting up claimed more lives.
At the Central University of Venezuela, soldiers bathed hundreds of student protesters in tear gas. Many of the protesters stayed put and medics in gas masks attended to others with bloodied faces and limbs.
Students from another university marched peacefully to deliver a petition to the office of the country’s Catholic bishops, asking the pope to speak out against the violence and the government’s steps toward authoritarianism.
A police officer died of his injures Thursday after being shot during a Wednesday protest that had hundreds of thousands of people on the street nationwide. A 17-year-old also was killed during the day’s protests.
The death of the 38-year-old officer in the central state of Carabobo means three dozen people have now died in the month of protests. Hundreds also have been wounded, no small matter in a country with crippling medical shortages. And more than 1,000 have been arrested.
Protesters are demanding immediate presidential elections. President Nicolas Maduro accuses the opposition of attempting a coup and has responded with an initiative to rewrite the constitution.