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Venezuelans pour into Caracas streets in anti-Maduro protest

Venezuelans pour into Caracas streets in anti-Maduro protest

It came as opposition leader and two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said on Friday that he had been banned from holding political office for 15 years, amid what critics say is a crackdown on dissent by the leftist government.

- MARIA CORINA MACHADO: The most-voted-for lawmaker in Venezuela's 2010 congressional elections, Machado was stripped of office in 2014, had her passport taken and was barred from competing in elections the following year.

"The human rights advocate has to stop being the Socialist Party advocate!" opposition leader Henrique Capriles said in an online broadcast as he marched wearing a hat in the Venezuelan colours of yellow, red, and blue.

The state authority's move effectively bans Capriles, a lawyer of 44, from running against Maduro in a general election due next year. But now the nearly daily churn of events in what's being called the "ongoing coup" - the government's moves to accumulate more power - has energized and united the normally fractious opposition. With Capriles out of action, and his fellow opposition leader, the imprisoned Leopoldo Lopez, out of commission, Maduro is steadily thinning the ranks of any serious rivals.

It would also likely fuel anger ahead of an opposition protest planned for Saturday after a string of violent marches, spurred by the Supreme Court assuming control of congress last week before an outcry forced it to retreat.

As is now customary authorities shut down the city's subway in what opponents call an attempt to discourage people from joining the protests.

Saturday's violence broke out when protesters gathered in the east of the city changed course at Capriles's request and headed downtown toward the government ombudsman's office.

One person was killed after a third day of protests turned violent in Venezuela on Thursday.

Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the Caracas Municipality of Chacao-an opposition stronghold-reported nine injuries, including a gunshot victim, after the clashes with police and a rival protest by government sympathizers. She said she is struggling to get enough to eat amid food shortages.

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"The only coup here is against President Nicolas Maduro".

Constable Mark Fischer said officials "are investigating the possible motivation behind the incident, such as a trial run", but Fischer said the man's age makes him believe that is not the case.

President Nicolas Maduro's government has pledged to keep paying bondholders, bashing default talk as a Wall Street plot to sabotage his Socialist administration.

Dubbed a "traffic jam against the coup", Thursday's demonstration was comprised largely of a slightly an older crop of protesters, many of whom carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the unrelenting tropical sun.

"When the dictatorship squeals it's a sign we're advancing", he said in a speech surrounded by other leading opposition figures, many of whom themselves have been targeted. Opposition leaders said more than a dozen protesters were injured in the clashes.

More than 100 dissidents are now imprisoned, including Leopoldo Lopez, another key opposition figure, who was also barred from office in 2008 and jailed in 2014 amid violent protests.

The Chilean Foreign Ministry said Roberto Enríquez, president of the COPEI Christian Democrat opposition party, had been granted guest status there.

"However, it is a risky strategy that will probably backfire", Eurasia Group said in a report Friday. "You're looking for deaths". Shall we let it? No.

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