Police officer killed during anti-Maduro protests in Venezuela

Canada has advised its nationals in Venezuela to

Canada has advised its nationals in Venezuela to"consider leaving by commercial means More

The death toll from almost four months of anti-government protests climbed to at least 113 on Friday as Venezuela's opposition called on backers to defy a protest ban ahead of a vote to launch a rewrite of the constitution. Protests are banned through Tuesday, and violators could get prison sentences of five to 10 years, said Néstor Reverol, the interior and justice minister.

Opponents see the Constituent Assembly as a step toward dictatorship by the party of President Nicolas Maduro.

She urged the government to manage any protests "in line with worldwide human rights norms and standards" and also called on those opposing the election to do so peacefully.

"We urge the authorities to manage any protests against the Constituent Assembly in line with worldwide human rights norms and standards", she continued, calling on those opposing the election and the Assembly to do so peacefully.

Residents of the capital, Caracas, lined up for hours at grocery stores and banks to stockpile food and cash before what many expected would be a chaotic weekend.

For months, violence has spiraled out of control as the struggle for food and medicine grows. The upheaval was motivated by the Venezuelan Supreme Court's dissolution of parliament in late March and the transfer of legislative powers to the court.

Despite this being quickly reversed, the decision ignited a protest movement against socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Incidents linked to protests on Wednesday and Thursday led to the deaths of seven demonstrators, the nation's attorney general's office said. "To a social explosion?" asked Henrique Capriles, an opposition leader.

Streets in some parts of Caracas and nearby towns were near-empty during the strike as some Venezuelans stayed home from work.

Skirmishes in the street between supporters of the opposition and the Maduro government have become commonplace.

Two airlines will be suspending flights to Venezuela due to the situation in the country.

Delta Air Lines, meanwhile, has said it will suspend its lone, weekly route to Venezuela - a flight between Atlanta and Caracas - starting in mid-September, citing unstable market conditions.

Fears of open civil conflict have prompted thousands of Venezuelans to join an exodus into neighbouring Colombia.

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