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Venezuela's unrest

Young man shot dead in Caracas

Venezuela's unrest has led to a ninth fatality, a young man shot dead in Caracas during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro. Latin American nations are demanding that he restrain pro-government militias.

Caracas'  Petare neighborhood councilors demanded a probe into the death of Melvin Guaitan who was reportedly struck by a bullet as National Guard squads broke up a protest late on Thursday.

Mayor Carlos Ocariz, who opposes Maduro's government, described Guaitan as a "humble neighborhood worker" without elaborating with details on the shooting.

Eight other people had previously died in three weeks of protest sparked by deep economic crisis and a failed bid by Venezuela's loyalist Supreme Court to stymie parliament.

Protestors blame Maduro for the economic crisis. He in turn accuses protestors seeking to oust him of being backed by the United States.

Militia usage condemned

On Thursday, the Organization of American States' (OAS) secretary general Luis Almagro condemned Maduro's government usage of so-called Colectivos.

Photos have shown the militia members on motorbikes shooting at protestors while police beat others.

OAS' Almagros accused the government of arming the Colectivos "so that they can exercise repression without restraint." Almagro said.

Amid Thursday's violence, about 50 children were evacuated from a Caracas hospital, reportedly because of tear gas fired in its vicinity.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged all factions to concentrate on lowering tensions and preventing further clashes.

ipj/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)

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