Venezuela death toll hits 40 as boy dies, say prosecutors

A 17-year-old Venezuelan youth died on Tuesday after he was shot in the head during a protest the day before, taking the death toll from six weeks of anti-government unrest to at least 40.

Two people were killed and several injured as another round of protests erupted against President Nicolas Maduro in western Venezuela on Monday, 15 May. Hundreds more have been injured in near-daily demonstrations by the opposition that frequently end with state security unleashing tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets at protesters.

Diego Hernandez, 33, and Luis Alviarez, 18, were killed in separate demonstrations, officials said. Videos of the violence in Tachira on Monday showed protesters throwing rocks and in one case setting an armored truck on fire.

The nationwide anti-government demonstrations launched 45 days ago have turned violent in some cases, with the toll now standing at 39 dead, hundreds injured and more than 2,000 people arrested. More than three-dozen people have been killed, hundreds injured and as many as 2,000 detained in almost seven weeks of protests.

Demonstrators have been on the streets daily since early April to demand elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign humanitarian aid to offset an economic crisis, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled legislature.

In the EU's most outspoken reaction yet to events in Venezuela, the ministers said 10 months of efforts to resolve the crisis were "stagnant" and elections were a way out.

Global pressure on the troubled South American nation is continuing to increase, with the Organization of American States voting Monday to hold a rare foreign ministers' meeting later this month to discuss Venezuela's political crisis. Maduro and top administration leaders contend the OAS is meddling in Venezuela's domestic affairs, infringing on its sovereignty and trying to remove the government from power.

The talks on Venezuela were scheduled hours after it was reported that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had declared a new decree of "state of exception and economic emergency".

The protests that erupted after the government-stacked Supreme Court issued a ruling March 29 nullifying the opposition-controlled National Assembly, a decision it later reversed amid a storm of domestic and worldwide criticism.

At fancy cafes, patrons show each other the latest videos of student protesters getting hurt or statues of the late President Hugo Chavez on their phones. Others simply sat and held signs declaring their resistance.

"We are against this fraudulent process", Capriles said on his radio broadcast. Those killed are largely young men in their 20s and 30s, protesters or those who happened to be in nearby areas during clashes.

The opposition blames the bloodshed on state security forces using excessive force and on groups of armed, pro-government civilians known as "colectivos".

"The EU also recalls that the use of military courts to try civilians goes against worldwide law, " the EU said in a statement.

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