Twelve killed amid anti-government protests in Caracas
At least 12 people have been killed following looting and violence in Venezuela's capital amid a spiralling political crisis in the South American country.
The Public Ministry confirmed the deaths yesterday and said another six were hurt.
Most of the deaths took place in El Valle, where opposition leaders say 13 people were hit with an electrical current while trying to loot a bakery protected by an electric fence.
Earlier yesterday, officials reported that a young Venezuelan man returning home late from work on Thursday had been fatally shot when he got caught in the middle of late-night street clashes that engulfed several working-class neighbourhoods in Caracas.
Melvin Guitan died in a poor neighbourhood in eastern Caracas amid the almost-daily, increasingly violent protests against President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan social media was ablaze late into the night with grainy mobile phone videos of light-armoured vehicles ploughing down dark streets to control pockets of protesters who set up burning barricades in several neighbourhoods.
At least five people were injured in one disturbance a short distance from Caracas' main military base.
Amid the confusion, mothers and newborn children had to be evacuated from a maternity hospital when it was swamped with tear gas. But while anti-government protesters accused riot police of being behind the attack, Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said armed groups hired by Mr Maduro's opponents were to blame.
Vicente Paez, a local councilman, said Mr Guitan was an employee of a Caracas-area city governed by an opposition mayor and did not join the protests.
It was not clear who shot him and there was no immediate comment from authorities.
The outburst of violence followed a second straight day of major demonstrations on Thursday that saw tens of thousands of Venezuelans flood into the streets to demand elections and denounce what they consider a dictatorial government.