Thousands of enraged Venezuelans took part in demonstrations across the country, which left a policeman dead and two hurt, to protest against a government decision to block a recall referendum designed to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela protest
Demonstrators clash with members of Venezuelan National Guard during a rally demanding a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in San Cristobal, VenezuelaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters
Venezuela protest
A woman shouts slogans as National police officers prevent demonstrators protesting against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaRonaldo Schemidt/ AFP
Venezuela protest
Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, VenezuelaCarlos Garcia Rawlins/ Reuters
Venezuela protest
Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, VenezuelaMarco Bello/ Reuters

Calling it "The Taking of Venezuela" protesters and opposition parties filled the roads of Caracas that would normally be full of rush hour traffic, hoping to bring down the government. At least 140 people were detained by police during the protests which took place across the nation, according to the Foro Penal human rights group. A police officer was shot and killed, while two others were injured under unclear circumstances in central Miranda state. Venezuelan's living in Peru organised a peaceful rally outside the Venezuelan embassy in Lima, brandishing giant Venezuelan flags, demanding freedom for Venezuela .

Venezuela protest
A protester with a sign reading 'revocatorio' takes part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, VenezuelaChristian Veron/ Reuters
Venezuela protest
Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, VenezuelaChristian Veron/ Reuters
Venezuela protest
Members of the Army prevent demonstrators protesting against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaRonaldo Schemidt/ AFP
Venezuela protest
Opposition activists clash with National Guard members during a protest in San Cristobal, state of Tachira, VenezuelaGeorge Castellanos/ AFP
Venezuela protest
A demonstrator is detained during a rally demanding a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in San Cristobal, VenezuelaCarlos Eduardo Ramirez/ Reuters

The protests follow last week's suspension of a push to for a second referendum to remove Maduro, which would end 17 years of socialism in the South American OPEC nation. Maduro has accused the opposition of seeking a coup with US help and has vowed there will be no plebiscite on his rule. Maduro, the unpopular 53-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez has presided over an unprecedented economic crisis that has resulted in a severe lack of food and supplies to its residents, who are now facing serious financial woes. "Maduro has shown how scared he is that the people will express themselves," opposition leader Henrique Capriles told the Associated Press while demonstrating in Venezuela's capital.

Venezuela protest
People protest against leftist President Nicolas Maduro's handling of a devastating economic crisis, in Porlamar, Margarita Island, VenezuelaAFP/ Getty Images
Venezuela protest
People protest against leftist President Nicolas Maduro's handling of a devastating economic crisis, in Porlamar, Margarita Island, VenezuelaAFP/ Getty Images
Venezuela protest
Leading opposition figure Henrique Capriles gestures at supporters during a demonstration against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaRonaldo Schemidt/ AFP
Venezuela protest
Leading opposition figure Henrique Capriles (C) assists a supporter during a demonstration against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaRonaldo Schemidt/ AFP
Venezuela protest
Lilian Tintori wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, holding a copy of the Venezuelan constitution , takes part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, VenezuelaMarco Bello/ Reuters
Venezuela protest
An Opposition supporter holding cards with the image of President Maduro and depicting late President Hugo Chavez takes part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela
Venezuela protest
People protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaJuan Barreto/ AFP
Venezuela protest
A child is seen at a window next to a t-shirt with an image of depicting late president Hugo Chavez as rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government past the streets in Caracas, VenezuelaChristian Veron/ Reuters
Venezuela protest
Opposition activists clash with National Guard members during a protest in San Cristobal, state of Tachira, VenezuelaGeorge Castellanos/ AFP
Venezuela protest
President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup (R), is greeted during a demonstration against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaRonaldo Schemidt/ AFP

Yet despite Venezuelans blaming Maduro for their economic woes, the ruling party is in firm control of institutions like the military and has shown no interest in yielding to the opposition. It is not possible for Venezuela's National Assembly to impeach Maduro, unlike other countries in Latin America, such as Brazil, where Dilma Rousseff was removed from presidency back in August. The power to remove someone from presidential power lies with the Supreme Court, which has never voted against Maduro, much to many Venezuelans fury. They, along with opposition legislators, believe that the Venezuelan leader has neglected his job, and therefore abandoned his presidency.

Venezuela protest
A woman demonstrates against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaFederico Parra/ AFP
Venezuela protest
People demonstrate against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, VenezuelaJuan Barreto/ AFP