Protests in Venezuela have been raging since the beginning of February, but they took on a new intensity Friday as opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was officially charged with inciting violence, arson, damage to property, and conspiracy.
At least 39 people have already been killed in the anti-government protests, which center around grievances such as Venezuela’s high crime rate, soaring inflation, and a shortage of food.
Protestors and the government have accused each other of using excessive force. The government has also accused protestors of being fascists trying to stage a coup with backing from the U.S. government.
Protestors turned out on the streets armed with rocks after Lopez was charged.
Although protest organisers called for peaceful protests on Friday, the situation quickly escalated on both sides.
Protestors threw gas canisters back at police.
Some resorted to even more extreme measures, shooting fireworks and throwing Molotov cocktails at riot police.
As tensions increase, protestors have also turned against anyone who supposedly has links to the government.
Police have also continued to arrest protestors in hopes of discouraging others from taking to the streets.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.