What began as student-led demonstrations this month in several cities have taken a toll that the government puts at 16 dead. The mostly middle class opposition joined the protests, but for the most part they have not expanded to poorer neighborhoods where Maduro's support base resides.

Clashes between protesters and security forces loyal to Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro have left 16 dead. The demonstrations have largely involved the educated middle class and have not spread to poorer neighbourhoods where Maduro's support base resides.

Violent scenes have been witnessed around Venezuela, as riot police have clashed with students brandishing slingshots and home-made weapons.

A demonstrator fires a primitive mortar during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Rubio outside San Cristobal, Venezuela
A demonstrator fires a primitive mortar during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Rubio outside San Cristobal, VenezuelaReuters
A demonstrator holds homemade tyre-puncturing devices made from nails and lengths of hosepipe in Rubio outside San Cristobal
A demonstrator holds homemade tyre-puncturing devices made from nails and lengths of hosepipe in Rubio outside San CristobalReuters
Demonstrators use a giant slingshot to launch rocks at National Guard members during a protest in San Cristobal
Demonstrators use a giant slingshot to launch rocks at National Guard members during a protest in San CristobalReuters
Demonstrators try to move a boulder to build a barricade in Rubio, near San Cristobal
Demonstrators try to move a boulder to build a barricade in Rubio, near San CristobalReuters
A demonstrator wears a homemade gas mask as they confront police during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas
A demonstrator wears a homemade gas mask as they confront police during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasReuters
A protester runs with a tear gas canister during clashes with police at Altamira square in Caracas
A protester runs with a tear gas canister during clashes with police at Altamira square in CaracasReuters
A young man with toothpaste applied to his face, supposedly to counteract the effects of teargas, shouts during a protest in Caracas
A young man with toothpaste applied to his face, supposedly to counteract the effects of teargas, shouts during a protest in CaracasReuters
A woman is treated for the effects of tear gas during a protest in Caracas
A woman is treated for the effects of tear gas during a protest in CaracasReuters
Demonstrators help a girl overcome by tear gas in Caracas
Demonstrators help a girl overcome by tear gas in CaracasReuters
A demonstrator runs with a makeshift shield during clashes with police at Altamira square in Caracas
A demonstrator runs with a makeshift shield during clashes with police at Altamira square in CaracasReuters
Riot police advance towards demonstrators during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas
Riot police advance towards demonstrators during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasReuters
Demonstrators confront police as they protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas
Demonstrators confront police as they protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasReuters
Demonstrators ask for support as they shield themselves from police during a protest in Caracas. The sign reads,
Demonstrators ask for support as they shield themselves from police during a protest in Caracas. The sign reads, "Venezuela is not mute"Reuters
Demonstrators confront police in Caracas. The graffiti reads,
Demonstrators confront police in Caracas. The graffiti reads, "Damn Chavez," and "The hooded join the fight"Reuters
Anti-government demonstrators clash with riot police at Altamira Square in Caracas. The graffiti reads:
Anti-government demonstrators clash with riot police at Altamira Square in Caracas. The graffiti reads: "Maduro, we are coming for you"Reuters
Venezuelan soldiers sit under a mural of late president Hugo Chavez as they attend an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the social uprising that marked the start of his revolution, in Caracas
Venezuelan soldiers sit under a mural of late president Hugo Chavez as they attend an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the social uprising that marked the start of his revolution, in CaracasReuters
Farmers march in support of President Nicolas Maduro in front of a mural of Venezuela's national hero Simon Bolivar in Caracas
Farmers march in support of President Nicolas Maduro in front of a mural of Venezuela's national hero Simon Bolivar in CaracasReuters
A woman jumps on a painting depicting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a protest in Caracas
A woman jumps on a painting depicting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a protest in CaracasReuters
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters as he arrives at a rally in Caracas
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters as he arrives at a rally in CaracasReuters