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  1. Venezuela Main Page
  2. The Hugo Chavez Era Begins
  3. Chavez Survives Referendum, Consolidates Power
  4. New Referendum Fails but Chavez is Undeterred
  5. New Challenges for Chavez at Home and Abroad
  6. Chavez Experiences Electoral Setback and Battles Health Issues
  7. Major League Baseball Player Kidnapped
  8. An End to the Monroe Doctrine?
  9. Chavez Wins 2012 Presidential Election
  10. Chavez Still Battling Cancer in Late 2012
  11. Chavez's New Term Begins Without Him
  12. Chavez Dies After a Long Battle with Cancer
  13. Protests Turn Violent in 2014
  14. Maduro Retaliates Against U.S. Sanctions
Protests Turn Violent in 2014

In the months after President Maduro assumed office, protests over increasing economic problems, such as high inflation, began in cities across Venezuela. On Feb. 12, 2014, thousands of demonstrators poured into Caracas. The protest began with a peaceful march. However, a group of government opponents showed up and called for a response to the arrest of protestors elsewhere in Venezuela. The demonstration turned violent. Three people were killed after several hundred protesters threw rocks at government buildings and police officers. Of the violence, President Maduro said, later on television, "I alert the world: we are facing a planned coup d'état."

Two days after the demonstration, government officials blamed the three deaths on opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. An organizer of recent demonstrations throughout Venezuela, Lopez spoke at the protest. Lopez denied any responsibility, but turned himself in to the authorities. He was arrested and taken to a military prison. The following week, Venezuela's government gave three American Embassy officials 48 hours to leave the country. The three officials were accused of recruiting students to take part in the antigovernment demonstrations.

Demonstrations continued to grow and spread in the days after Lopez's arrest. Throughout the rest of Feb. 2014, protestors in several cities clashed with riot police. The protests grew so intense in Táchira, a western state near the border of Colombia, President Maduro threatened to declare a form of martial law for the area. The National Guard began patrolling Caracas with tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to scare away protesters.

Violent antigovernment protests continued throughout March 2014. President Maduro invited the leaders of student protests to meet with him, promising to listen to them "with respect and affection." However, at the same time, Maduro ordered riot police officers to use pepper spray, water cannons and tear gas on thousands of student demonstrators. On March 13, three protestors were shot to death during demonstrations in Valencia. More than 20 people were killed at demonstrations between mid-Feb. and mid-March 2014.

Next: Maduro Retaliates Against U.S. Sanctions
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