Teenager Killed in Violent Venezuela Protests

Ongoing protests in Venezuela flared up on Wednesday as protesters set fires and threw rocks at police, bringing the death toll to 34 in the past month. The latest victim was a 17-year-old demonstrator who was killed Wednesday after being hit in the neck with an object, Reuters reported, citing a district mayor for the opposition. “A young man with all his life ahead. He simply fought for a better country,” the mayor, Gerardo Blyde, wrote on Twitter. More than 200 people were injured in sporadic clashes throughout Caracas, he said. Protesters against President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to rewrite the country’s constitution battled with National Guard troops, who used tear gas, shields, and armored vehicles. Opposition activists were armed with Molotov cocktails and slingshots that they used to hurl stones, erecting barricades as they vowed to stay in the streets until Maduro steps down. The unrest began last month after the Supreme Court attempted to strip the opposition-held congress of its powers, but tensions boiled over earlier this week with Maduro’s announcement of a “constituents’ assembly” to rewrite the constitution. The opposition has slammed the move as a ploy aimed at keeping Maduro in power without free elections, accusing him of creating a dictatorship. Maduro has hit back by accusing the opposition of plotting a coup at the behest of outside forces.