13 dead in Venezuela protests

Caracas, Feb 25 (IANS/EFE) Thirteen people have died in nearly two weeks of protests against the Leftist regime of President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s attorney general said Monday.

Six of the fatalities were in Caracas, Luisa Ortega told a press conference.

With regard to two of the three deaths in Caracas after an opposition rally Feb 12 outside her office, she said that “it is very clear how the incidents occurred” and there are three agents of the Sebin intelligence service in custody.

Ortega also confirmed the information announced last Friday by Maduro, who said that some public officials have been detained and are being investigated for the killings outside the AG’s office.

The attorney general criticised the violence of the protests and said that during the marches some 12 people were found with firearms and “many others” with knives and explosive devices, such as Molotov cocktails.

“Whoever bears arms at a demonstration does not have peaceful intentions,” she said.

The number of people who remain jailed from the incidents has risen to 45, of whom nine are public officials, while the number of injured is approximately 149, the attorney general said.

A “minority” is carrying out violent actions in an “international campaign to discredit the Venezuelan government,” Ortega said.

Both the government and the Opposition have stepped up their calls for the protests to be carried out without recourse to violence.

–IANS/EFE

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IANS