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MEXICO CITY, June 5. /TASS/. At least 80 people died during anti-government protests that have been going on in Venezuela since April, the country’s Minister of Communication and Information Ernesto Villegas said in an interview with the Globovision TV channel. On June 2, Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said the death toll from the protests had reached 63.
"Our lists contain 80 names, while other institutions give different figures," Villegas said. "We refer to the data provided by the Attorney General’s office, but we also collected information from news reports and social networks," he added. According to the minister, the opposition is trying to escape responsibility for the deaths of protesters blaming them on President Nicolas Maduro. "This is a scenario drawn up by (Luis) Almagro (Secretary General of the Organization of American States - TASS)," Villegas stressed.
Large-scale protests in Venezuela, caused by a complex economic situation and the confrontation between the parliament and the government, gained strength after the Supreme Court had decided to expand the president’s powers and limit those of the parliament, while Maduro had come up with an initiative to convene the Constitutional Assembly to change the Constitution.
According to the Penal Forum non-governmental organization, since April 1, around 3,000 people have been detained, while several hundreds have already been brought to military courts. The number of injured have exceeded 1,000.