Venezuela crisis: Deadly clashes as millions join strike
Millions of Venezuelans have joined a general strike called by the opposition as pressure mounts on President Nicolás Maduro to cancel elections for a new constituent assembly.
Clashes between police and protesters killed at least three people. More than 300 others were reportedly arrested.
Mr Maduro said the strike was minimal and that its leaders would be arrested.
Since April, when opposition protests intensified, almost 100 people have died across the country.
Protesters barricaded roads in the capital, Caracas, and other cities with rubbish and furniture. The opposition said that 85% of the country joined the strike.
But in pro-government areas of the capital, life went on as usual, with shops open and streets busy. Public employees also appeared to have worked normally.
In several cities, police fired tear gas as they clashed with protesters. One death was reported on the outskirts of Caracas while two others died in the northern city of Valencia.
More than 360 people had been arrested across the country, a local rights group said.
Colombia, France, Spain, the US and the EU have urged the Venezuelan government to cancel the vote for a new constituent assembly on 30 July.
But Mr Maduro has rejected the calls.
In a speech on TV, he claimed “triumph”, saying that key sectors had not joined the strike.
“Work has triumphed, love, life, and hope; work has triumphed. They [the Venezuelan opposition] who have never worked, let them carry on not working, we are moving forward, comrades.”
“I’ve ordered the capture of all the fascist terrorists.”