CARACAS- Hundreds of Venezuelan protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces who tried to disperse them with tear gas Friday, as the death toll from three-week street battles rose to 18.
At least 41 protesters, including eight foreigners, were arrested during the latest rally in Caracas, state television reported, while the mayor of the wealthy Chacao district said at least two civilians were shot and one suffered cuts and bruises.
With no sign of a breakthrough in the political crisis gripping the oil-rich country, the United States urged President Nicolas Maduro to hold talks with protesters and end the bloody violence.
“They need to reach out and have a dialogue, and bring people together and resolve their problems,” Kerry said in Washington, urging against “arrests and violence in the streets.”
Kerry said the United States was working with Colombia and other countries to bolster mediation efforts.
Maduro has labeled the protests that began on February 4 a Washington-backed attempted “coup.”
He claims that radical opposition leaders have joined students angered by high inflation and goods shortage in plotting to topple his nearly year-old government.