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Three dead in Venezuela's Lara state amid protests

By Andrew V. Pestano

April 13 (UPI) -- Venezuelan officials said three people -- aged 14, 32 and 36 -- died in the city of Barquisimeto in the Lara state after violence during protests this week.

At least two victims died from shootings in separate incidents throughout Barquisimeto, the capital of Lara, on Tuesday. Henri Falcón, the governor of Lara, accused armed pro-government supporters of carrying out the killings.

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Falcón on Thursday said one victim, whom he did not identify, died in a vehicular collision -- though reports indicate all three died from shootings. Venezuela's Public Ministry has launched an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths and whether they were directly connected to the anti-government protests.

Gruseny Antonio Canelón, 32, died early Thursday after being shot in a demonstration on Tuesday, Venezuelan opposition officials said.

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"This morning he died in the hospital, in Barquisimeto, Gruseny Antonio Canelón, young man injured in the protest of April 11. Criminal regime. NO MORE," María Corina Machado, a former Venezuelan National Assembly opposition member, said in a statement.

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Venezuelan National Assembly opposition member Alfonso Marquina said 14-year-old Brayan Principal died after he was shot in the abdomen.

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"All my solidarity with the family of the child Brayan Principal, and my commitment to fight so this painful death does not go unpunished," Marquina said in a statement.

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Miguel Ángel Colmenares, 36, also died on Tuesday after being shot 11 times while traveling on a Barquisimeto road, El Universal reported.

"We have three dead. We hope that it does not multiply," Falcón said during a press conference on Thursday.

The latest protests in Venezuela began on March 30 after the Supreme Tribunal of Justice said it would assume the opposition-controlled National Assembly's duties -- a ruling it later reversed.

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