The number of death tolls and injuries continues to rise amid the political protests in Venezuela against President Nicolas Maduro’s social government. Entering its fourth week, the numbers of death rose to 26 after a man was shot dead at a pro-government demonstration on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Orlando Medina, 23, was gunned down in Lara during an anti-Maduro protest. Another man, Luis Marquez, 52, was also shot but at a pro-Maduro rally, said state ombudsman Tarek Saab.
Demonstrations against President Maduro began nearly a month ago and since then, 15 people have died around protests—including one National Guard sergeant—and 11 others in evening robberies, said the state prosecutor’s office. Although more deaths have been reported by political activists and Venezuelan media, those have not been confirmed.
Images of the streets of Venezuela have spread on social media showing extremely violent scenes at the demonstrations. Many of the photos show protesters covering their faces with bandanas, fires being started and state security forces releasing clouds of tear gas.
“In the morning they appear peaceful, in the afternoon they turn into terrorists and at night bandits and killers,” said senior Socialist Party official Diosdado Cabello of the opposition protesters. “Let me tell them straight: we’re not going, Nicolas (Maduro) is not going.”
The opposition’s main demands center around elections and the Supreme Court’s decision to take over the opposition-dominated National Assembly, but also fueled by the failing economy in the oil-rich nation of 30 million people.
In 2014, 43 people died within months of demonstrations against Maduro, the successor to the late leader Hugo Chavez.