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Death toll climbs as protests still rage in Venezuela

From Elwyn Lopez, CNN
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
A member of the Bolivarian National Police clashes with protestors during a demonstration against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Saturday, May 10. Clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces have left more than 40 people dead and about 800 injured since February, according to officials. A member of the Bolivarian National Police clashes with protestors during a demonstration against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Saturday, May 10. Clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces have left more than 40 people dead and about 800 injured since February, according to officials.
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Protests in Venezuela
Protests in Venezuela
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Protests erupt in Venezuela
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Protests erupt in Venezuela
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 31 people have died in more than a month of protests
  • Another 461 have been injured
  • Protesters and government officials trade blame for the violence

(CNN) -- At least 31 people have died in Venezuela and 461 have been injured in violent clashes between opposition demonstrators and government forces that began last month, an official said Thursday.

Another 1,854 people have been detained during the unrest, according to Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres.

The weeks of protests across Venezuela mark the biggest threat President Nicolas Maduro has faced since his election last year. Demonstrators say they have taken to the streets to protest shortages of goods, high inflation and high crime.

Protesters and government officials trade blame for the violence.

Venezuela blames one woman for protests

"Nicolas threw gas on the fire. He and he alone will be responsible for how the situation develops," opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski said in a Twitter post Thursday.

"It's clear you want more confrontation and to promote violence," he tweeted earlier.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour this month week, Maduro was unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.

Think about what the U.S. government would do if a political group laid out a road map for overthrowing President Barack Obama, Maduro said.

"What would happen in the United States if a group said they were going to start something in the United States so that President Obama leaves, resigns, to change the constitutional government of the United States?" Maduro said. "Surely, the state would react, would use all the force that the law gives it to re-establish order and to put those who are against the Constitution where they belong."

CNN's Dana Ford and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

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