Violent Protests Continue to Rock Venezuela

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Anti-government protests continued Friday in Venezuela's main cities, leading to more violent clashes with government forces.

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters marched in Caracas and some left flowers at the entrance of the state-owned Venezuelan Military Industries building as symbols of peace.

Protesters around the country have been demonstrating against shortages of basic goods, high inflation, and high crime levels.

The government is now sending paratroopers to a border area where demonstrators have been engaged in fierce clashes with police. Opponents accuse President Nicolas Maduro of sending the military, police, and civilian militias to silence those challenging his socialist rule.

Maduro said the escalating protests against his government are part of an attempted coup sponsored by right-wing and "fascist" opponents in Venezuela and abroad.

At a government event in the capital, he accused protesters of attacking rail workers during demonstrations.

The mass protests, which began with a peaceful rally on Feb. 12, have left at least six dead and more than 100 injured.

The New York Times reports opposition legislators have been barred from debates and stripped of committee posts in the National Assembly.

The main opposition leader is still under arrest on charges of inciting violence.

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