Opposition snarls traffic in Venezuelan capital

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 1:38 p.m.CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
A pedestrian walks in front of a burning barricade blocking the highway in Chacao, Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Traffic has come to a halt in parts of the Venezuelan capital because of barricades set up by opposition protesters across major thoroughfares. The protests are part of a wave of anti-government demonstrations that have swept Venezuela since Feb. 12 and have resulted in at least 10 deaths. The protests in the capital Monday were peaceful. Police and National Guard troops stood by but did not act to remove the barricades despite the effect on the morning commute.

CARACAS, Venezuela — Opposition protesters erected barricades across major thoroughfares on Monday, bringing traffic to a halt in parts of the Venezuelan capital 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 12 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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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