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Venezuela post-election violence takes lives

Officials say at least seven people have been killed in post-election unrest.

Henrique capriles venezuela 2013 03 25Enlarge
Venezuelan presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, gestures during a campaign rally in Naguanagua, Carabobo state, Venezuela, on March 21, 2013. (Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images)

Post-election violence in Venezuela has killed a total of seven people and injured more than 60, attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz said Tuesday, according to Reuters

Brazil's Globo news also reported seven dead, marking an increase from earlier state reports saying only four people had been killed. 

Students were at the forefront of Monday's anti-government protests, which came a day after the country's presidential election left many angered by alleged fraud following a tight race for the top position in the powerful Latin American nation. 

The rallies drew tear gas and plastic bullets from National Guard troops seeking to nip protest activity in the bud, according to the Associated Press

But some demonstrators were furious, hurling chunks of concrete and stones at government troops at a highway outside Caracas, reported Al Jazeera

The protests came in response to the National Electoral Council's Monday announcement of an official a win by Hugo Chavez's favorite, Nicolas Maduro, following an extremely close race -- official results put results at 50.66 percent for Madura and 49.07 percent for the popular opposition leader Henrique Capriles, said Al Jazeera. Chavez died in March. 

Capriles claims the election was rigged and called Maduro an "illegitimate president," urging citizens to smash their kitchen pots together -- a popular form of protest known as  cacerolazo -- in order to, as he said, "let the world know our outrage, our anger," reported Al Jazeera

The opposition leader lashed out at Maduro personally on Monday, saying: "You are the loser, you and your government,” vowing not to recognize the results “until each vote of the Venezuelan people has been counted," according to CNN.

The White House voiced tentative support for the opposition on Monday, with spokesman Jay Carney telling reporters an audit "seems like an important and prudent step to take," according to CNN

The election in Venezuela is being closely watched for potential changes to the socialist policies of longtime leader Chavez. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/130416/venezuela-post-election-violence-takes-lives