Two shot dead in Venezuela protests

GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

General Motors says it's stopped business in Venezuela

Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what's been.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro uses binoculars during a rally in Caracas on April 19, 2017.

The opposition wants Maduro's removed, new elections and the release of political prisoners, including opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who was jailed in early 2014. He said Venezuelans have been denied basic human rights and that the government of President Nicolas Maduro is only concerned with maintaining its power. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of auto. Instead of taking steps to reduce tensions with the opposition, he has taken a confrontational tone with members of the opposition and protesters, whom he calls "vandals and terrorists".

A 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman died after being shot during the protests on Wednesday, while a soldier outside Caracas was also said to have been killed, bringing to eight the number of dead this month in a mounting political crisis.

Later that day, the government also seized General Motors' plant in Venezuela. The neglected factory hasn't produced a auto since 2015 but GM still has 79 dealers that employ 3,900 people in Venezuela, where for decades it was the market leader.

Violence erupted when thousands of opposition protesters tried to march on central Caracas, a pro-government bastion where red-clad Maduro supporters were massing for a counter-demonstration.

Some protesters in Las Mercedes neighborhood even had to cross the Guaire River, a contaminated narrow river in Caracas, to escape from the many bombs that the National Guard threw at them.

Across the country, the clashes have been intense.

"The pro-government groups don't believe the opposition should not be in these parts of the city, but the opposition say they have the right to protest wherever they please", Weddle told Al Jazeera. A group of youths with their faces covered tore down street signs and billboards for makeshift barricades.

Recent moves by Maduro to tighten his grip on power and ban Capriles from politics have escalated the country's political and economic crisis and sparked worldwide cries of concern. Troops fired tear gas in Caracas neighbourhoods, San Cristobal, the depressed industrial city of Puerto Ordaz, and the arid northern city of Punto Fijo.

That move was later reversed, but it had the added effect of energising Venezuela's fractious opposition, which had been struggling to channel growing anger against Maduro over widespread food shortages and triple-digit inflation. The opposition sees the government measures as turning Venezuela into a almost full-blown dictatorship. Maduro's government with the backing of ideological adversaries in Washington.

The president has said that beneath a peaceful façade, allegedly encouraged by the United States, the protests are nothing but opposition efforts to foment a coup to end socialism in Venezuela.

This is the largest day of demonstrations in more than two weeks of violent protests that have seen more than 200 arrested. Six people have died and countless others, many journalists, have been injured.

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric coming from the government. Mark Toner, the U.S. State Department spokesman, echoed that call in a statement Tuesday, pressing for calm and accountability during the protests.

In response to Wednesday's massive protests, which had always been in the works, Al Jazeera reports Maduro ordered the Venezuelan military to march in Caracas in "defense of morality" and "in repudiation of the traitors of the country".

Marchers in the opposition demonstration in Caracas included Liliana Machuca, who earns about $20 a month holding two jobs teaching literature.

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