Two students died after being shot during massive protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, bringing the total number of those killed this month to seven.

The opposition has called for new protests on Thursday.
The opposition has called for new protests on Thursday.

Two Venezuelan students died on Wednesday after being shot during protests against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation amid a crippling economic crisis.

Opposition supporters protested in Caracas and other cities in what they called "the mother of all marches," denouncing Maduro for eroding democracy and plunging the oil-rich economy into chaos.

The opposition has called for new protests on Thursday as well.

Crowds swelled to hundreds of thousands, including Maduro supporters who held a counter-demonstration in the capital at the urging of the president, and clashes were reported across the country during the most sustained protests since 2014.

Carlos Moreno, 18, a student, was leaving his home to play soccer in Caracas when armed government supporters approached a nearby opposition gathering and fired shots, according to witnesses. He was shot in the head, they said, and three security officials said he later died in a clinic after undergoing surgery.

Later on Wednesday in the opposition hotbed of San Cristobal near the Colombia border, university student Paola Ramirez died after being shot in the head by men pursuing her and her boyfriend, according to relatives and witnesses.

"We were on a motorbike and they were following us, shooting," her boyfriend said.

"I left her on a block where she was going to find her sister and I went to hide the bike. I heard shots and when I arrived she was on the ground. I tried to protect her as much as I could," he added.

The public prosecutor's office said it was investigating both cases.

The deaths mean seven people have now been killed during protests in Venezuela this month. The opposition blames the deaths on security forces and alleged paramilitary groups.

Over 270 people were arrested during protests on Wednesday, rights group Penal Forum said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies