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People in civilian clothes open fire at protesters in Caracas — paper

Two people were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds

CARACAS, April 1. /TASS/. A group of armed people wearing civilian clothes opened fire at people taking part in an anti-government protest in the Libertador district of Venezuela’s capital Caracas, the Nacional newspaper has reported.

Two people were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, the paper said.

Photos from the site of the attack show demonstrate two men, one carrying a weapon resembling a rifle, the other holds a pistol. The paper blamed the violence on Collectivo groups - irregular community organizations that support the current government.

Rallies to protest massive power outages took place in Caracas and other cities on Sunday.

In the Venezuelan capital, angry crowds gathered outside the presidential administration, Palacio de Miraflores, and blocked roads leading to it, demanding that the government restore electricity supplies. There were no reports of clashes with security forces.

Security measures were tightened near Miraflores ahead of the rally, including the deployment of several armored vehicles, as well as numerous military patrols and National Guard officers.

Several major power outages were registered in Venezuela this week.

The Venezuelan capital of Caracas and 20 of the country’s 23 regions were first left without electricity on March 7. The National Electric Company said the blackout had been caused by an accident at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant, which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blamed on "US imperialism." However, the US Department of State denied any involvement.