Masked Venezuelan rightwingers clash again with riot police

Rich protesters trying to oust President Nicolas Maduro again take to the streets of Caracas

Hooded rightwingers rampaged through Caracas streets on Sunday night, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at Venezuelan riot police.

Masked youths battled police, protesters burned and hanged effigies of socialist President Nicolas Maduro from lamp-posts while marchers demanded the "resurrection" of democracy.

Disgraced and dismissed opposition MP Maria Corina Machado joined several hundred members of the right-wing Voluntad Popular (Popular Will), a far-right party whose leader Leopoldo Lopez has been jailed since February.

Ms Machado was barred from the National Assembly after speaking to the US-dominated Organisation of American States as part of a Panamanian delegation.

Four people were injured in unrest that erupted in Caracas's up-market Chacao neighbourhood after police returned fire with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.

At the end of the march, hooded activists had blocked a main Chacao road and nearby streets with debris that included an uprooted bus shelter and sewer grates.

Some wore gas masks and construction helmets. Others hid their identity with scarves and Guy Fawkes masks.

Also attending the protest with Ms Machado was former mayor Antonio Ledezma.

Both of them, along with Mr Lopez, support a strategy which aims to push President Nicolas Maduro from office through violent street protests since the right has long lost at the ballot box.

But in Petare, the biggest shanty-town in Caracas, residents burned effigies of opposition governor Henrique Capriles and Mayor Carlos Ocariz, accusing them of failing to rein in opposition supporters.

Despite the protests of recent weeks, President Maduro's position is clearly not under threat, with numbers on the street demonstrations dropping and the armed forces firmly behind him.

"One year into government, I will continue to fulfil my oath with the people," said Mr Maduro, who this week celebrated the anniversary of his election win.

"No-one will deny our right to be happy, free and independent," he added.

Venezuela has been rocked by two months of protests, with at least 41 killed since early February.

Around 600 people have been injured and 100 arrested.

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