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Violent clashes in Venezuela demanding dismissal of apex court justices

New York USA: Thousands of protesters yesterday clashed for the fifth consecutive day with the security forces in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.

Officers in riot gear blocked a highway as the marchers tried to advance, chanting “Liberty, Liberty!” The protesters tossed rocks and returned tear gas canisters used against them, reports the CNN.

The protesters are demanding the dismissal of all seven Justices of the Venezuelan Supreme Court after the apex court issued a ruling on March 29 that all powers vested under the legislative body, the Venezuelan National Assembly, be transferred to the court itself, which is stacked with the government loyalists.

However, the court reversed its decision three days later after a series of violent protests. The opposition said the original decision made Venezuela a dictatorship because all three branches of the government would be in the hands of the socialists.

The government’s decision on Friday to ban popular opposition leader Henrique Capriles from doing political work for 15 years galvanized the opposition again.

Capriles, 44, is the Governor of Miranda state and a two-time presidential candidate who has become the most vocal critic of the socialist government. Capriles yesterday lashed out at the government for its dictatorial attitude showing unnecessary show of force against the protesters.

President Nicolas Maduro had earlier this week while speaking in front of his Cabinet in an event televised on the government’s TV network called the protesters “terrorists and vandals.”

“We have them all identified. They’re all identified. They will fall one by one and they will go straight to face justice,” Maduro said.

The restiveness comes amid the country’s deep humanitarian crisis sparked by an economic meltdown. Shortages of basic food products and medicines are commonplace. Inflation is expected to rise 1,660 percent this year and 2,880 percent in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund. (ANI)