Venezuelans clog roads in new anti-government protests

The daily protests come as President Nicolas Maduro is set to announce the make up of his constituent assembly, which would be authorised to modify the country's constitution.

The blockades of major roads in Caracas is part of the opposition's strategy to vary tactics and keep up momentum in popular calls against the president.

Luis Alviarez, 18, was killed during protests in the volatile western state, according to the state ombudsman's office, which did not give more details. State security officers unleashed a volley of tear gas and rubber bullets.

Monday's "sit-in against the dictatorship" began peacefully, but later in the day, demonstrators clashed with soldiers and police, throwing rocks and setting an armored truck on fire.

Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States and one of President Nicolas Maduro's harshest global critics, called for the government to be held to account over the deaths.

In Valencia, three policemen were injured, authorities said, with one mistakenly reported by the local Socialist Party governor as having been shot dead earlier in the day.

"The release of jailed political opponents and the respect of the constitutional rights of all political actors to vote and to participate in elections are also crucial steps to building trust and helping the country to regain political stability", the European Union added. In the state of Lara west of Caracas, investigators were dispatched after three people were run over by a vehicle at a protest.

Russia, Saudi Arabia back extension of oil output cuts
The feature in the marketplace early this week is a continuation of the recent rally in the crude oil market. Goldman retained its average Brent price forecast for the third quarter of 2017 at US$57 per barrel.

"We ask the world to look at what's happening right now in Venezuela", opposition leader Maria Corina Machado said after Monday's violence.

At least 38 people have been killed and more than 750 injured in more than a month of unrest. Polls show the great majority of Venezuelans want Maduro gone as violent crime soars and the country falls into economic ruin.

The latest protests in Venezuela broke out when the Supreme Court issued rulings that stripped the opposition controlled National Assembly of its powers. At fancy cafes, patrons show each other the latest videos of student protesters getting hurt or defaced statues of the late President Hugo Chavez on their phones. A group of flamenco dancers dressed in black performed for the crowds. The opposition maintains state security and civilian-armed pro-government groups known as "colectivos" are responsible for the bloodshed.

Drawing rail-thin teenagers, elderly grandmothers and all ages in between, Venezuela's protests have taken on an nearly ritual-like progression: Demonstrators begin marching toward their chosen destination and are blocked by police or national guardsmen in armored trucks launching plumes of tear gas.

The center-right opposition blames elected socialist leader Maduro for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food and medicine.

Associated Press writer Hannah Dreier reported this story in Caracas and AP writer Christine Armario reported from Bogota, Colombia.

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