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Anger swells in Venezuela after president's rival is barred

Trouble flared as demonstrations were held in the capital Caracas and other major cities. Credit: AP

Angry protests have swelled in Venezuela after the main opposition leader to president Nicolas Maduro was banned from running for office.

Authorities fired tear gas and rubber bullets as thousands took to the streets a day after Mr Maduro's government barred opposition leader Henrique Capriles from pursuing election for 15 years.

Demonstrators clashed with riot police during a protest in Caracas. Credit: AP

The ban capped a dramatic 10-day crackdown that has sparked week-long demonstrations amid a wide-ranging political crisis.

The protests were triggered after the supreme court moved to strip the opposition-controlled legislature of several powers - an internationally condemned move since reversed.

Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets. Credit: AP

The crisis has seen pro-government groups target several opposition leaders and another hide in a foreign embassy to avoid arrest.

Policeman shot dead during Venezuelan protests

Angry scenes as protesters clashed with police. Credit: Reuters

A policeman has been shot dead during protests in Venezuela.

Dozens were reported injured as thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets in efforts to oust leftist leader Nicolas Maduro.

After launching a political trial against Maduro on in the National Assembly, the opposition coalition held nationwide marches dubbed "Takeover of Venezuela".

"This government is going to fall!" crowds chanted, many wearing white and waving national flags as they congregated at nearly 50 sites across the country.

A protester in chains. Credit: Reuters

Clashes occurred in several cities outside Caracas including the volatile western town of San Cristobal that was an epicenter of violence during 2014 anti-Maduro protests.

Maduro, the unpopular 53-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez, has presided over an unprecedented economic crisis.

He accuses the opposition of seeking a coup with US help and has vowed there will be no vote on his rule.

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Venezuela steps up deportation of Colombians

Venezuela has ramped up a deportation programme for Colombians - in some cases separating children from their parents, Colombia's migration office has said.

Venezuela has stepped up its deportation programme for Colombians Credit: Reuters

President Nicolas Maduro closed two official border crossings between the two countries last week, following a shootout between an armed smuggling gang and troops which left three soldiers wounded.

He later declared a 60-day state of emergency in five regions near the border, saying Venezuela was a "victim" of "paramilitaries and the Colombian right".

Since then, 612 adult Colombian citizens and 139 minors have been returned to their native country.

While children cannot legally be deported, authorities have been describing their movements as "repatriations".

Colombia's Foreign Ministry has demanded guarantees that families will be kept together during the deportation process.

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