A 17-year-old protester died in ferocious clashes between Venezuelan security forces and protesters in Caracas. The government said Neomar Lander died when a homemade mortar exploded in his hands. Opposition leaders, however, said he was killed by a tear gas canister that was fired straight at him.

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A dying demonstrator is helped during protests against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

His relatives said he had gone with family members to demonstrate peacefully. "I'm going to keep fighting," said the teen's uncle, Mauro Arellano.

Venezuela protests Caracas
A demonstrator is carried away on a motorbike during a rally against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Security forces using armoured vehicles, water cannons and tear gas blocked opposition supporters from marching to the national election board's headquarters, sparking clashes around the city. Masked youths with homemade shields hurled stones and Molotov cocktails, and set up burning roadblocks, while businesses and schools closed, and residents ran for cover.

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An opposition activist prepares to hurl a Molotov cocktail at riot police during clashes in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
Venezuela protests Caracas
Anti-Maduro protesters hurl Molotov cocktails at riot police during a protest in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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Riot police catch fire during riots at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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A truck is set on fire outside a Supreme Justice Court branch office in CaracasMarco Bello/Reuters
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Supreme Justice Court employees attempt to extinguish a truck set ablaze by opposition demonstrators in front of court premisesFederico Parra/AFP
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Riot police on motorcycles ride towards opposition activists during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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An injured opposition activist is assisted by health workers during a demo in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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An opposition demonstrator shows a grenade supposedly hurled at them from inside the Supreme Justice CourtJuan Barreto/AFP
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Volunteer members of a primary care response team attend a rally against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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Demonstrators and riot security forces clash during riots at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasMarco Bello/Reuters
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A nun carries a Venezuelan flag during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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A nun holding a Venezuelan flag walks towards a line of riot police during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasLuis Robayo/AFP
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Volunteer medics try to assist demonstrators during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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Riot police in clouds of tear gas clash with demonstrators during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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An opposition activist grabs a tear gas grenade fired by riot police during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasJuan Barreto/AFP
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Protesters are affected by the tar gas fired by riot police in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, attends a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasMarco Bello/Reuters
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Opposition leader Henrique Capriles takes part in a protest march in CaracasLuis Robayo/AFP
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An opposition demonstrator in Caracas protects himself behind a shield decorated with a painting of a violin, in reference to the city's famous violin protester Wuilly ArteagaFederico Parra/AFP
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A demonstrator prepares a petrol bomb during rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasMarco Bello/Reuters
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Opposition activists prepare to launch a firework at riot police during a protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in CaracasLuis Robayo/AFP
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An opposition activist wears a mask and a rosary during clashes with riot police in CaracasLuis Robayo/AFP
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A man aims his weapon at demonstrators as they attack the administration headquarters of the Supreme Justice CourtFederico Parra/AFP
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Opposition activists protest under a mural depicting Chavez and Maduro in CaracasJuan Barreto/AFP
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A riot policeman standing near a poster showing Nicolas Maduro shoots rubber bullets at opposition activists in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
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The names of people killed during more than two months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government are written on a street in CaracasLuis Robayo/AFP

Hours after the march, the body of William Jose Mendoza, a national guardsman, was found in a residential neighbourhood in eastern Caracas. o details were immediately released on how or where he might have been killed.

Nearly 70 people have died have died in two months of political unrest fed by Venezuela's triple-digit inflation, widespread food shortages and high crime. Only a few deaths during protests have resulted in arrests, and about half of those cases have been attributed to police. The vast majority of those killed have been young men, though a small handful of law enforcement officers including at least one other national guardsman have also died. Each side blames the other for the violence.

President Nicolas Maduro is continuing his contentious campaign to hold a national assembly to rewrite the constitution. Speaking to military academy students, he again blamed opposition leaders for the violence roiling Venezuela. And as he has previously, he compared assaults on pro-government forces to the persecution inflicted on Jews in Nazi Germany.

Critics denounce Maduro as a repressive dictator, and are demanding general elections, foreign humanitarian aid, freedom for hundreds of jailed activists, and autonomy for the opposition-controlled National Assembly.