CARACUS, Venezuela (CBS) — An explosion injured a group of police officers during a Sunday protest in Caracas.
The explosion left eight motorbikes smoldering on a main avenue as protesters blocked roads and clashed with security forces during a controversial election to elect a constitutional super-body that unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro vowed would begin a “new era of combat” in the crisis-stricken nation.
Maduro, widely disliked for overseeing an economic collapse during four years in office, has pressed ahead with the vote to create the all-powerful assembly despite the threat of further U.S. sanctions and months of opposition protests in which more than 115 people have been killed.
Opposition parties are boycotting what they call a rigged election. Their sympathizers erected barricades across roads around the South American country and scuffles broke out with security forces who moved in quickly to disperse hooded demonstrators.
Authorities confirmed three deaths over the weekend, including the killing of a candidate to the assembly during a robbery, although opposition lawmakers said the toll was much higher.
Polls show some 70 percent of Venezuelans oppose the vote which has been widely condemned internationally.