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Harrowing Images From Venezuela's Deadly Protests

01/08/2017 4:49 AM AEST | Updated 01/08/2017 6:07 AM AEST
Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
A demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister while clashing with security forces on July 20 in Caracas, Venezuela.

A new round of deadly protests engulfed Venezuela on Sunday, as the government held internationally criticized elections for a new political body that will have the power to rewrite the country’s constitution.

Demonstrators and police met in a series of clashes, resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people.

Protesters set up barricades as they defied a ban on rallies, with barbed wire and burning tires blocking streets. In one incident captured on video, a roadside bomb detonated near a group of police on motorcycles in the capital of Caracas and left several officers injured. 

Opponents of the vote, which has been deemed as illegitimate by the U.S. and a host of countries in South America, view the election as embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to consolidate power and remove his political opposition from office. The new Constituent Assembly has extremely far-reaching powers to reshape the country’s political institutions and potentially dissolve the opposition-led National Assembly.

In response to the election, the U.S. announced that it would be issuing sanctions on Maduro and accused him of undermining democracy in the hemisphere.  

Despite the international condemnation, reports of low turnout and public opposition, Maduro on Sunday declared the result a huge victory and plans to go ahead with establishing the Constituent Assembly. The opposition, meanwhile, called for fresh protests on Monday amid fears that the crisis will continue to spiral. 

Venezuela’s political turmoil is occurring amid a crippling economic crisis that has led to shortages of basic necessities and long lines to buy whatever food is available. 

Although Sunday was one of the deadliest days in Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crisis, there have been months of protests and violent confrontations. Thousands have been injured in the demonstrations and at least 113 people killed.

Photojournalists in the country have captured scenes of fiery melees, injured demonstrators and a polarized country that is increasingly being plunged into unrest and uncertainty.

  • RONALDO SCHEMIDT via Getty Images
    A demonstrator catches fire during clashes with riot police on May 3, 2017. Protests against the government of beleaguered leftist President Nicolas Maduro have wracked Venezuela for months.
  • LUIS ROBAYO via Getty Images
    An anti-government demonstrator stands next to a national flag during an opposition protest blocking the Francisco Fajardo highway on May 27.
  • FEDERICO PARRA via Getty Images
    Medical staff carry a boy suffering from the effects of tear gas on May 30.
  • Andres Martinez Casares / Reuters
    Opposition supporters affected by tear gas huddle together near members of the government's security forces on July 9.
  • JUAN BARRETO via Getty Images
    A truck set ablaze by opposition activists blocks a street on July 18.
  • JUAN BARRETO via Getty Images
    Opposition activists clash with riot police on April 26.
  • FEDERICO PARRA via Getty Images
    An opposition activist wearing a helmet and gas mask stands near a burning motorbike on May 31.
  • FEDERICO PARRA via Getty Images
    Anti-government demonstrators celebrate after an attack on the administration headquarters of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice on June 12.
  • FEDERICO PARRA via Getty Images
    An opposition activist throws an object at riot police on May 1.
  • Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
    A demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister while clashing with security forces on July 20.
  • FEDERICO PARRA via Getty Images
    A National Guardsman fires a weapon at opposition demonstrators on July 26.
  • FEDERICO PARRA via Getty Images
    A wounded journalist is helped by volunteer medics during clashes between opposition demonstrators and riot police on July 26.
  • JUAN BARRETO via Getty Images
    A boy runs under a Venezuelan flag during a protest o June 27 against attacks on journalists.
  • Carlos Barria / Reuters
    A demonstrator jumps away from a jet of water released from a security forces vehicle on May 26.
  • JUAN BARRETO via Getty Images
    A demonstrator is hit by the jet from a riot police water cannon on May 10.
  • Stringer . / Reuters
    Cardboard crosses with the name of demonstrators killed during protests against the government are attached on a fence on July 20.
  • Ivan Alvarado / Reuters
    An injured opposition supporter is helped by volunteer members of a primary care response team on June 22.
  • JUAN BARRETO via Getty Images
    A demonstrator flees from tear gas on July 20.
  • Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
    Flames erupt as clashes break out while the Constituent Assembly election was held on July 30.
  • Marco Bello / Reuters
    Demonstrators gather in front of an Air Force base during a rally against the government on June 24.
  • Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
    A demonstrator runs away from security forces on July 26.
  • RONALDO SCHEMIDT via Getty Images
    An anti-government activist prepares to throw a Molotov cocktail at members of the National Guard during a 48-hour general strike called by the opposition on July 24.
  • Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
    Security forces pass through a roadblock on July 26.
  • Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters
    Opposition supporters attend a rally on July 24 to pay tribute to victims of violence during protests.
  • Christian Veron / Reuters
    Protesters take a rest on June 26 next to the names of victims of the ongoing unrest.
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