Venezuela Unrest Kills Fifth Person, Lopez Faces Court

Supporters of Nicolas Maduro’s government stand outside the court where opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is facing charges, in Caracas Wednesday. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
Supporters of Nicolas Maduro’s government stand outside the court where opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is facing charges, in Caracas Wednesday. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

(Reuters) - Another person died of a bullet wound on Wednesday in the fifth fatality from Venezuela’s political unrest, as imprisoned protest leader Leopoldo Lopez urged supporters to keep fighting for the departure of the socialist government.

College student and model Genesis Carmona, 22, was shot in the head during a protest on Tuesday in the central city of Valencia, and died in a clinic.

Tensions have risen in Venezuela since Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, surrendered to troops on Tuesday after spearheading three weeks of often rowdy demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

“Today more than ever, our cause has to be the exit of this government,” he said, sitting next to his wife in a pre-recorded video to be released if he was arrested.

“The exit from this disaster, the exit of this group of people who have kidnapped the future of Venezuelans is in your hands. Let’s fight. I will be doing so.”

As well as the death in Valencia, three people have been shot dead in Caracas and another person run over by a car during a demonstration in the coastal town of Carupano.

There have been scores of arrests and injuries.

Trouble Around Nation

There was trouble across Venezuela again on Wednesday. Rival groups scuffled outside the Caracas court where Lopez was due, while student demonstrators also blocked a highway in the capital, burning trash.

In western Tachira state, security forces and protesters fought in the streets for about two hours, with two students injured, various vehicles damaged or destroyed, and local monuments charred, witnesses said.

In southern Puerto Ordaz city, pro- and anti-government marchers fought in the street, witnesses said, with police firing teargas to quell the trouble.

Three government supporters were injured in the melee where shots were fired, and both sides faced off with sticks and stones, the witnesses said.

The demonstrators are calling for Maduro’s resignation over issues ranging from inflation and violent crime to corruption and product shortages.