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Opposition blocks roads in Venezuelan capital


Published:   |   Updated: February 24, 2014 at 09:43 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela — Traffic came to a halt Monday in parts of the Venezuelan capital as opposition protesters erected barricades across major thoroughfares in a continuation of the unrest that has roiled the country for nearly two weeks.

The barricades of trash and other debris prompted the cancellation of some bus routes and made the morning commute a nightmare for many, but there were no reports of major violence as police began dismantling the roadblocks. There were similar reports of blockades in the provincial cities of Maracaibo and Valencia.

Since Feb. 12, opponents of President Nicolas Maduro have been staging countrywide protests that the government says have resulted in at least 11 deaths and more than 130 injuries.

The demonstrators blame Maduro’s administration for the country’s high crime rate and economic troubles. They say his socialist-inspired polices have led to shortages of basic goods and inflation above 50 percent, among the world’s highest, despite the country’s vast oil reserves.

Maduro has called for a national peace conference this week to address the unrest. Opposition Gov. Henrique Capriles says he has not decided whether he will participate.

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