Many Venezuelan streets were barricaded and deserted on Thursday for a strike called by foes of President Nicolas Maduro to demand elections and the scrapping of plans for a new congress they fear would consolidate dictatorship in the OPEC country.
From the Andes to the Amazon, millions joined the 24-hour shutdown, staying at home, closing businesses or manning roadblocks in a civil disobedience campaign the opposition hopes will end nearly two decades of socialist rule. Two young men died in the unrest, authorities said.
“We must all do our best to get rid of this tyrant,” said Miguel Lopez, 17, holding a homemade shield emblazoned with “No To Dictatorship!” at a barrier on a Caracas street devoid of traffic.
Many private transportation groups heeded the strike call, while students, neighbors and activists hauled rubbish and furniture into streets to erect makeshift barriers. The opposition said 85 percent of the country joined the strike.