Thousands of protesters demanding new elections took to the streets of Caracas in sometimes violent clashes with riot police. Demonstrators carried makeshift shields and wore improvised gas masks to protect themselves against the plumes of tear gas that wafted through the streets of the Venezuelan capital. A few threw rocks or Molotov cocktails and carried signs decrying President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela protests Maduro
Riot police fire tear gas during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasChristian Veron/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator wears a home made gas mask during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasChristian Veron/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator tries to protect himself from tear gas during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasChristian Veron/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A injured demonstrator is helped by othersChristian Veron/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator throws a bottle while clashing with riot police during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator throws a Molotov cocktail towards riot police in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
Demonstrators scuffle with riot police motorcyclists in CaracasJuan Barreto/AFP
Venezuela protests Maduro
Demonstrators grab a riot police officer at a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasChristian Veron/Reuters

Now in their second week, the protests initially erupted 1 April after the Supreme Court stripped congress of its last vestiges of power, a decision it later reversed. Demonstrators and opposition leaders are angered at what they see as a government that no longer respects democratic institutions and is sliding toward authoritarianism.

A dozen people were injured in the latest protest. Opposition leaders slammed the government for arbitrary use of force in breaking up the demonstrations. They pointed to tear gas being fired into one Caracas clinic, requiring a baby to be rushed out by medical technicians. "Not even in war are there are attacks on hospitals and health centres," said opposition legislator Jose Manuel Olivares in a news conference.

Venezuela protests Maduro
A protester holds a lit Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
Venezuela protests Maduro
A young woman who was overcome by tear gas is carried away by fellow demonstratorsFederico Parra/AFP
Venezuela protests Maduro
Demonstrators chase and beat an unidentified person during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's governmentChristian Veron/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A protester walks through clouds of tear gas during an anti-Maduro rally in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
An injured demonstrator is helped by others during a protest in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator uses a sling shot during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas MaduroCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator shows empty shells during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator is arrested by riot police in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
Demonstrators rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas. The graffiti reads 'Down with the dictatorship'Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
An injured journalist is helped by colleagues during clashes between opposition activists clash and riot police in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
Venezuela protests Maduro
A demonstrator protesting against President Nicolas Maduro's government throws back a tear gas grenade at riot police in CaracasJuan Barreto/AFP
Venezuela protests Maduro
Riot police take up positions during clashes with demonstrators in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP
Venezuela protests Maduro
Protesters set a kiosk alight in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela protests Maduro
A man walks past a burning kiosk during a protest against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Popular singer Miguel Ignacio Mendoza, known as Nacho, was among those affected by tear gas in Caracas. "The repression is not an invention of the media," he said, his eyes irritated by the gas. "I'm here to prove it"

Venezuela protests Maduro
Singer Miguel Ignacio Mendoza from the Venezuelan pop duo Chino & Nacho participates in a mass protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in CaracasFederico Parra/AFP

Government officials sent images and videos via Twitter of hooded and masked protesters destroying public property such as a bus stop, accusing the opposition of orchestrating violence to destabilise the government.

Overall, the unrest over the last two weeks has left one person dead. Some 188 protesters, most of them students, were arrested in the period 4 to 8 April, and 57 are still behind bars, rights group Penal Forum said.

Despite the surge in protests, many Venezuelans are pessimistic that marches can bring about change, scared of violent clashes, or simply too busy trying to find food. Venezuelans are suffering from triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages of basic goods.