CARACAS, April 7 Venezuelan authorities
confirmed that a young man was killed on Thursday during
anti-government protests and vowed to investigate the fatal
attack, the first since a controversy over the Supreme Court
blew up last week.
Thousands of Venezuelan opponents of President Nicolas
Maduro's socialist government marched on Thursday to protest a
decision by the administration-leaning top court to assume
control of the opposition-led congress in what demonstrators
said was a lurch toward dictatorship.
While the widely condemned decision was quickly overturned,
the opposition has stepped up street protests against Maduro,
even though such demonstrations have achieved little in the
The march culminated in clashes, and opposition leaders said
on Thursday night that Jairo Ortiz was shot in a Caracas suburb
by security forces that were breaking up a protest there.
"In the face of the vile assassination of the young Jairo
Ortiz, we manifest our firm condemnation of such a vile act,"
state human rights ombudsman Tarek Saab said on Twitter early on
The opposition, which accuses Saab of being an extension of
Maduro's government, was blocked on Thursday from marching to
the ombudsman's office.
On Friday, anti-Maduro demonstrators gathered there from
dawn, wrapping red tape emblazed with the words "danger, do not
enter" around the office in a surprise protest.
"We declare this office closed because it's back is to the
people," tweeted opposition legislator Milagros Paz. " ... Jairo
Ortiz died in the hands of this regime."
Maduro said in a televised address on Thursday that
authorities had detained 30 people involved in the demonstration
as the country's fragmented opposition gained new impetus
against a government it blames for the country's social and
(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer)