Venezuelans shut down capital roads to protest government

A protester tries to flee government security forces during a demonstration by opponents of President Nicolas Maduro who gathered to block a major highway in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 20, 2017. Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again in what has been two months of near-daily street protests. Demonstrators are demanding new elections and blaming Maduro for the nation's triple-digit inflation, rising crimes and vast food shortages. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Masses of protesters with white shirts, homemade gas masks and flags draped around their shoulders shut down a main road in the Venezuelan capital on Saturday in a continuation of near-daily street protests.

Soldiers shut down access to the center of the city and officials closed at least 10 metro stations in anticipation of Saturday’s protest.

State security forces have consistently prevented protesters from reaching the city center, home to the presidential palace, Supreme Court, and electoral authority. The political unrest has left at least 46 people dead.

Maduro, meanwhile, has been posting videos of himself driving with windows rolled down through various neighborhoods at night as he talks about restoring peace to the country. On Friday night, he drove past a plaza in the eastern part of the city that has become the epicenter of the opposition movement and noted how quiet the streets were.

“Look at how peaceful it is here. We’re defeating the barricade-builders and violence-bringers,” he said.