US concerned Venezuela not allowing opposition to be heard: Tillerson

And Maduro said he wanted to expand that force, which is now in the tens of thousands, to half a million and they should all have guns.

A demonstrator throws stones during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Two Venezuelan students died on Wednesday after being shot during protests against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation amid a devastating economic crisis.

Maduro, 54, called on his backers to stage counter-demonstrations in Caracas on Wednesday.

Capriles, 44, has been the most prominent leader of Venezuela's opposition over the past decade, twice coming close to winning the presidency.

A government supporter waves a national flag during a march in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

The opposition is demanding early elections, the freeing of jailed politicians, humanitarian aid, and respect for the autonomy of the opposition-led legislature.

In short, the opposition says Maduro has created a dictatorship.

A 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman died after being shot during the protests on Wednesday, while a soldier outside Caracas was also said to have been killed, bringing to eight the number of dead this month in a mounting political crisis.

In response to Wednesday's massive protests, which had always been in the works, Al-Jazeera reports Maduro ordered the Venezuelan military to march in Caracas in "defense of morality" and "in repudiation of the traitors of the country". There were no other details immediately available.

"We have to protest because this country is dying of hunger said Alexis Mendoza, a 53-year-old administrator marching in the Caracas neighborhood of El Paraiso".

Miguel Salomon is president of the Clinicas Caracas hospital.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor said she is investigating the Wednesday shooting incident amid conflicting reports over the cause of death.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets to protest the government of President Nicolás Maduro as the country marked its 207th anniversary of the revolution that led to its independence from Spain.

Security forces violently repressed protests that broke out the next day, and although the court quickly reversed its decision, street protests have continued.

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Venezuela's political opposition has been represented mainly by the Democratic Unity Roundtable, a coalition of different parties including centrist, centre-left, left-wing and centre-right parties.

Moncada told members of the Washington-based organization that the resolution by the OAS on April 3 was to blame for the violence that occurred at demonstrations in the last two weeks.

The opposition called for another protest on Thursday, raising the specter of prolonged disruption in Venezuela.

The European Commission says: "All concerned, including members of the security forces, have a responsibility to act in full compliance with the rule of law and human rights".

Almagro said the OAS would continue to seek a restoration of democracy. Critics say elections have been delayed because Maduro is afraid of the outcome.

"This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can", said Machuca, her face covered in a white, sticky substance to protect herself from the effects of tear gas.

Liliana Machuca, a teacher in Caracas told the AP she believes protesting is her only option after all the "abuses" she says have been committed by the government.

In March, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez called Almagro a liar and a criminal mercenary at the OAS.

Previous efforts to march there have been blocked by the National Guard, resulting in clashes.

The marchers who have flooded some major streets are refusing to budge.

Rodriguez spoke Wednesday during a visit to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, referring to dueling opposition and pro-government marches being held the same day in the South American country.

The Cuban official notes that Venezuela is a sovereign state with a democratically elected government.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the U.S. State Department of encouraging Venezuelan opponents to attempting a government overthrow.

There are few clear ways of determining who belongs to colectivos, who call themselves community groups but the opposition accuses of being violent paramilitary wings of the ruling Socialist Party. They were met by a curtain of tear gas and rubber bullets as they attempted to march to downtown Caracas.

The march followed a fortnight of violent protests triggered by a Supreme Court decision in March to assume the powers of the opposition-led Congress - which it quickly reversed under worldwide pressure. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. Post your comments below or post to our official FACEBOOK page.

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