Three more shot dead in Venezuela amid protests; 24 total killed

April 25 (UPI) — Venezuelan officials said three more people died in protests both supporting and opposing President Nicolas Maduro, raising the death toll to 24 in three weeks.

Venezuelan Ombudsman Tarek Saab‏ on Monday said pro-government protester Jesus Sulbaran was shot in the neck in the state of Mérida as he was “demonstrating peacefully.” Saab‏ said several others were injured, including some who are “between life and death.”

“Finally, the public defender of Venezuela makes one call for those who have promoted these actions outside of the law: for the end of violence and return to peace,” Saab said in a statement.

Jhonny Colmenarez, an official for Maduro’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, said Orlando Johan Jhosep Medina was fatally shot in the head at midnight on Monday in the city of El Tocuyo in the Lara state.

Venezuela’s Public Ministry said Renzo Rodríguez Roda was shot in the chest in the Bolívar municipality in the Barinas state.

The Public Ministry said it would launch an investigation into all three killings.

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Venezuelans have taken part in anti-government protests since March 30 after the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, or TSJ, said it would assume the National Assembly’s duties — a ruling it later reversed. Pro-government demonstrators also began to show their support for Maduro amid heightened tensions.

The opposition blames Maduro’s regime and his supporters for the killings, whereas Maduro blames the opposition for the killings and accuses them of inciting violence.

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