Venezuela reports arrests and deaths in election violence | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 16.04.2013
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Venezuela reports arrests and deaths in election violence

Venezuela's chief prosecutor has said that seven people were killed and 135 arrested on Monday in post-election protests and marches that turned violent. Both election candidates have blamed each other for the unrest.

Prosecutor Luisa Ortega said on Tuesday that seven people were killed and 61 injured in protests around the country on Monday. Supporters of both the president-elect, Nicolas Maduro, and his rival Henrique Capriles held rallies to either celebrate or denounce Maduro's narrow victory in Sunday's election.

He was officially named as the country's next president after the death of Hugo Chavez on Monday evening, although Capriles has demanded a recount and had urged supporters to protest the result.

The Venezuelan attorney general also said that 135 people were detained on Monday.

The socialist Maduro on Tuesday said that "fascists" seeking a coup were responsible for the violence, while Capriles said on Twitter that the government "ordered that there be violence to avoid counting votes."

Prosecutor Ortega did not go into specifics on the identities of the people killed. The Reuters news agency reported that state media were saying that two Maduro supporters were shot by opposition protesters and that a Venezuelan police officer had died.

Venezuela's election commission had said Maduro won 50.8 percent of the vote to Capriles' 49.0 percent, handing a narrow win to Chavez's preferred successor. The result was far closer than expected in the run-up to the election.

Supporters of both sides had taken to the streets of the capital Caracas and other cities on Monday, with further actions expected for Tuesday. Riot police on Monday used tear gas on some protesters.

Venezuela's hurried elections came about after Chavez died following a lengthy bout with cancer on March 5, with the country's constitution demanding snap elections in the event of a president's death. Chavez had held the position since 1999.

msh/mz(AFP, Reuters)