Venezuelans vow to continue protests as clashes turn deadly

Al Jazeera | At least two killed in violent protests as President Maduro severs diplomatic ties with Colombia over Guaido support.

Photo: Mia Alberti

Constant gunfire

Hundreds of people filled the bridge, standing behind a special forces cordon, a few metres away from the burned carcasses of three aid trucks that tried to enter Venezuela.

The background sound of constant gunfire blended with shouted warnings about the incoming injured and the cries of street vendors who, despite the chaos, still tried to sell cigarettes and ice cream.

Violence began early in the day as petrol bombs, stones, and burning branches flew from one side of the border to the other, where the Venezuela National Guard held off protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Luiz Salcedo, a protester, sat in one of the other two aid trucks that turned back in retreat.

“Nothing will make me give up,” he told Al Jazeera from behind a face mask. “We are doing this for our families, who are suffering, who are hungry, unemployed. That gives us special strength to fight, to rescue our country.”

The flow of injured seeking assistance was constant and the crowds of demonstrators parted to make way for them. Some came slumped over the shoulders of strangers, their clothes ripped and bloodied. Others rushed back to the front line after receiving treatment.

“These young people are fighting for our freedom, for our health, for our food,” said Mari Javenes, one of the many volunteers helping out the injured.

She sat in a plastic tent surrounded by medical supplies. Right next to her, a man who had been shot in the eye with a rubber bullet was lifted into an ambulance. “We are devastated, they hit us too hard,” she told Al Jazeera with tears in her eyes.

“We have faith in God, Maduro will fall. Something must happen. Strength and faith. Strength and faith,” she said.

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