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Violent elections in Venezuela, politicians killed

Staff Writer |
Violent clashes broke out between police and protesters in Venezuela Sunday during a controversial election that has been marked by the deaths of at least two political figures.

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Protesters blocked roads and confronted security forces as Venezuelans trickled to the polls to vote to elect a new assembly that would rewrite the country's constitution and give the government virtually unlimited powers.

President Nicolas Maduro has pressed ahead with the vote despite the threat of further U.S. sanctions and four months of political upheaval, which has left about 100 people dead and thousands injured and detained.

In the hours before voting began, a candidate in the election as well as an opposition activist were killed, officials said Sunday.

Jose Felix Pineda, a 39-year-old lawyer described as a popular candidate for the Constituent Assembly, was shot in his home in Bolivar City on Saturday night, a tweet from the country's public ministry said.

A group of people broke into his residence and "fired several shots," it said.

Ricardo Campos, a youth secretary for the opposition Democratic Action party, was shot and killed during a street protest in the same city early Sunday, said Henry Ramos Allup, a deputy in the National Assembly and the party's national secretary general.

Two other men were shot and killed during a protest on Saturday night in the town of Chiguara in Merida State in the country's northwest, Venezuelan newspaper El Universal reported.

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