At least 10 people have been killed in demonstrations across Venezuela including a political candidate in its assembly elections, a soldier and two children, it has been reported.

As the country goes to the polls to vote for a new legislative body that will have the power to rewrite the constitution which opponents say would allow President Nicholas Maduro to tighten his grip on power, clashes broke out throughout the South American country.

José Felix Pineda, a 39-year-old lawyer running in the election, was shot in his home a senior Venezuelan minister said, according to the BBC.

Also, a member of the armed forces was shot in the face in clashes in La Grita, a youth opposition leader killed in Cumana and other people killed in Merida and Barquisimeto, Sky News reported.

Meanwhile dramatic video footage shows how an explosion hit police officers riding on their motorbikes, which left them with injuries.

El Nacional newspaper reported that 10 people had been killed across the country within 24 hours.

Venezuelan soldiers fired rubber bullets at protesters in the capital Caracas where police officers were injured after an explosion. Security forces have used armoured vehicles to dispel protesters in the capital.

Opposition supporter Berta Hernandez, told Reuters in Caracas: "I'll continue on the streets because, not long from now, this will come to an end."

One 54-year-old militant, Carlos Zambrano, said according to Sky News: "We are here as pure resistance against the process happening today against the constitution. The people are not going to give up the streets until this awful government goes. We will remain fighting until Maduro leaves".

As the country grapples with a political and economic crisis, the election has led to sanctions imposed on colleagues of Maduro by the United States and the European Union.

After Maduro cast his vote on Sunday (30 July), he said: "The first vote for peace," and criticised governments of trying to stop "21st-century socialism".

"The 'emperor' Donald Trump wanted to halt the Venezuelan people's right to vote. A new era of combat will begin. We're going all out with this constituent assembly."

Venezuela
Demonstrators watch a barricade burn after clashes broke out while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, 30 July 2017. Reuters
At least four national policemen were injured after an explosion detonated in the streets of the Altamira neighbourhood