Man set on fire during violent clashes in Venezuela capital Caracas as protests enter 50th day

Violent clashes in Venezuela as anti-government protests enter 50th dayReuters

A 21-year-old man was set on fire during a violent anti-government protest in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Saturday (20 May), as the campaign against President Nicolas Maduro entered the 50th day.

According to local media reports, Orlando José Figuera suffered first- and second-degree burns to 80% of his body. He is receiving treatment for his wounds "after the abominable violent act", teleSur Venezuela cited the Ministry for Interior Relations, Justice and Peace as saying.

Footage shared on Twitter shows the young man being stabbed before being set afire, which Ernesto Villegas, Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information, blamed on opposition protesters.

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The incident took place near Altamira Square, Chacao municipality of Caracas, which has been the scene of violence and vandalism since the beginning of April.

At least 46 people have been killed from both sides of the political divide in violence related to pro- and anti-government rallies, where protesters clashed with security forces. The protests are aimed at ousting Maduro, who has been accused of taking the country towards dictatorship.

Demonstrators have been using everything from petrol bombs to faeces at security forces, who in turn have resorted to tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to subdue the mobs.

Maduro's opponents want a referendum to remove him, and hold election earlier than the one scheduled in 2018. They have been blaming the president for an acute shortage of food and medicines in the oil-producing country.

"Fifty days and they've assassinated 50 people... Despite everything, on day 50, amid more repression, there is more resistance and more fight for Venezuela," said two-time presidential candidate and de facto opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, who led the opposition march on Saturday.

During Saturday's protests, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, waving placards that read "No More dictatorship in Venezuela", Reuters reported.

The news agency also cited its witnesses as saying that two protesters wielded machetes in the volatile border city of San Cristobal, while masked youths hurled rocks.

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While Maduro's critics blame him for the dire situation in the country, the president has alleged that the opposition and business community are responsible for the shortage of essential supplies.

Despite having the world's largest known oil reserves, Venezuela is going through an unprecedented economic crisis, with inflation soaring to 700%.

8 May 2017: A protester clashes with riot police during a rally against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

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