CARACAS,(Pakistan Point News - APP -8th Sept,2016) - Thousands of Venezuelans staged rival demonstrations Wednesday for and against President Nicolas Maduro in a new test of strength as the opposition pushes for a vote on driving him from power. A week after a mass protest in the capital Caracas, Maduro opponents rallied near offices of the electoral authorities nationwide, demanding a recall referendum in the crisis-stricken country by the end of the year.
The leftist leader's supporters held rallies of their own nearby, but the rival demos -- far smaller than last week's -- went off with no reports of major clashes. Oil giant Venezuela's once-booming economy has gone into meltdown as crude prices have crashed since mid-2014. Outrage is mounting over shortages of food and medicine, threatening Maduro and the socialist "revolution" his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, launched in 1999. "We have to do something. Voting and peaceful protest are the only weapons we have," said Rosmina Castillo, 52, demonstrating against Maduro in the town of Los Teques, just southwest of the capital. She was among a crowd of some 1,500 opposition protesters who gathered a block away from roughly the same number of Maduro supporters. A metal barrier and lines of police kept them apart.