A video from Venezuela that has gone viral shows a David and Goliath-like clash between protesters and the police in the Caracas neighborhood of Altamira.
A group of young people chase riot police with sticks and stones; authorities then fire on the crowd with tear gas as an armored vehicle pushes back protesters and rolls over people in the crowd. The tank is then engulfed in flames.
NBC News has confirmed that at least one person got stuck underneath the vehicle and is severely injured.
The scene is just one of the latest amid the escalating violence. On Thursday, Juan Bautista López Manjares, 33, a university student leader, was at an assembly meeting in the state of Anzoátegui when a man shot and killed him before escaping on a motorcycle.
Confrontations between protesters and the authorities are a common scene in Venezuela, where 34 people have died during the month- long protests, according to Reuters. The Foro Penal Venezolano, an NGO that is critical of the Maduro government, reports that almost two thousand protesters have been detained since April 4th and 600 of those are still behind bars.
In cities around the country there are reports of political unrest by day and shootouts and looting at night. Scenes include students and housewives armed with sticks and rocks, confronting National Guard troops with anti-riot gear using tear gas, water cannons and other weapons to beat back crowds.
Venezuela, which up until 1998 was South America’s most stable democracy, has the largest oil reserves in the world. Yet inflation is in triple digits and there are massive food and medical shortages affecting residents of all income brackets.
In the U.S., a bipartisan group of senators, led by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), introduced legislation on Wednesday to address the crisis. The bill would provide assistance to Venezuela including $10 million for food and medicine and calls for sanctions against a number of Venezuelan officials.