Hundreds injured in Venezuela's anti-Maduro protests

Tension remains high in Venezuela after the suspension of a referendum seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Tens of thousands of demonstrators blocked the capital Caracas' main highway on Wednesday chanting "Democracy yes! Dictatorship no!"

Over 120 people were injured in anti-government protests in major cities throughout Venezuela late on Wednesday, opposition leader Henrique Capriles said.

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets to express their anger after the government shut down a referendum to oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro on Saturday.

"The referendum was our constitutional right, and they have denied it. What are they scared of?" said Grimaldi Lopez at the rally in the capital, Caracas.

Demonstrators blocked the main highway in the capital chanting "Democracy yes! Dictatorship no!" and police clashed with demonstrators in other cities, as well, detaining more than 140 people nationwide, according to Foro Penal human rights group.

"Maduro has shown how scared he is that the people will express themselves," Capriles said.

A police officer was shot dead, and two others injured in the populous Miranda state, the country's interior minister Nestor Reverol said.

Almost 2 million people signed a petition to oust Maduro, 400,000 of the signatures were considered valid by electoral authorities.

Last week officials halted the process on suspicion that fake signatures were used during the campaign.

TRTWorld and agencies