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Venezuela detains youth leaders over 'terror'

Authorities in Venezuela have arrested two opposition politicians as deadly clashes continue between security forces and anti-government protesters. Officials suspect the two brothers of "organizing terrorist acts."

The youth leaders, Jose and Alejandro Sanchez, were detained after a large anti-government rally in Caracas on Thursday. They "confessed to taking part in this week's violence," Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said on Twitter.

Venezuela faces the largest wave of protests in years, with at least five people killed since the clashes started last week. Many stores were looted, as the oil-rich country struggles with the lack of food, medicine, and basic goods.

According to the interior minister, the two brothers were arrested "for organizing terrorist acts and assaults against the peace of the country."

The politicians were members of the Justice First party, which accused the military intelligence service of "abducting" the pair. The move would not keep protesters off the streets, Venezuelan deputy Tomas Guanipa said on Twitter, posting a picture of the Sanchez brothers.

The Justice First party also slammed the interior minister, telling him that "real terrorism is the one you are leading by repressing the people."

Maduro still on top

Watch video 00:29

Anti-Maduro protesters clash with Venezuelan police

Opposition leaders called for protests after the government banned Henrique Capriles, the key challenger to the socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, from holding public office for 15 years. Over 100 dissidents are currently behind bars in Venezuela.

The regime of Nicolas Maduro has managed to keep its hold on power in the South American country, despite the economic crisis, violent riots, and an opposition-dominated Congress. Maduro managed to thwart an opposition bid to oust him with a referendum, as the country's electoral commission claimed petition signatures were partially faked.

The 54-year-old president blames the country's economic woes on a conspiracy led by the US.

Government critics scheduled more protests for Wednesday next week.

 

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