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Venezuela violence death toll rises to 36

A young man died Friday after he was injured in violence as looting broke out in impoverished Venezuelan cities, an official said, bringing the toll from unrest in more than a month of anti-government protests to at least 36.

Hecder Lugo Perez, 22, died after he was hit in the head by a projectile in the northwestern city of Valencia, sources at the Valles de San Diego medical clinic said. City Mayor Enzo Scarano confirmed his death.

Mass protests erupted on April 1 by demonstrators demanding elections to remove President Nicolas Maduro. They blame him for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food, medicine and other basics.

Anger boiled over Friday in the western municipality of Rosario de Perija, where young protesters burned, pulled down and then smashed a statue of former president Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s late predecessor and mentor, according to video posted on social media showing the incident in a public square.

Looting broke out this week in cities such as Valencia, which looked like a disaster zone with bars on shop windows bent and windows broken.

Residents were stockpiling food, water and fuel. At least 70 stores have been raided since Tuesday, the Valencia chamber of commerce said.

“They are taking advantage of the protests to go out and rob,” said Magaly Oliveros, a 64-year-old housewife in Valencia.

“Today we are hungry, and tomorrow we will be hungrier still because there is nothing.”

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