Deaths from Venezuelan anti-government protests up to 75


Caracas (AFP)

A 22-year-old man was shot dead on Thursday during an anti-government protest in Caracas, becoming the 75th victim in three months of unrest over the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.

The young man was killed during a demonstration in the capital's Altamira area, the public ministry said on Twitter, without specifying the type of weapon that killed him.

Opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares said the man had been shot by a member of the National Guard.

Near-daily protests against Maduro began April 1, with demonstrators demanding his removal and new elections.

The protests have often turned violent, with more than 1,000 people injured so far, prosecutors say, and more than 3,000 arrested, according to the NGO Forum Penal.

Maduro has been blamed for an economic crisis that has caused desperate shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods.

The socialist leader says the crisis is a US-backed conspiracy.

On Thursday, he slammed the Organization of American States, which met last week to advance a plan to deal with Venezuela's political instability, but failed to reach an agreement.

"The OAS will never again set foot in Venezuela," Maduro said during a briefing with foreign reporters.

He called the regional group's lack of agreement "a diplomatic and political victory," and added that he would ignore any future decision by the body.