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Hugo Chavez's childhood home burned by anti-government protesters in Venezuela

Protesters have set late president Hugo Chavez's childhood home in western Venezuela on fire, an opposition legislator said, as protests against the nation's socialist government grew increasingly hostile.

Demonstrators lit the house - in the city of Barinas, where Mr Chavez spent his early years - aflame along with several government buildings, including the regional office of the National Electoral Council, said Pedro Luis Castillo, who represents the area.

The burnings capped a violent day in Barinas - known as the cradle of Mr Chavez's socialist revolution - during which protesters clashed with national guardsmen, businesses were closed and roads blocked with fire-filled barricades.

Yorman Bervecia, 19, was shot and killed during a protest, according to the nation's chief prosecutor. His death brings to at least 49 the number killed in nearly two months of anti-government protests demanding new elections.

While protesters are condemning President Nicolas Maduro for the nation's triple-digit inflation, food shortages and rising crime, demonstrators have also destroyed at least five statues commemorating Mr Chavez, as well as the childhood home.

"It is pretty symbolic that the citizens are venting their frustrations on the author of the Bolivarian revolution," said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas.

The street clashes engulfing Venezuela appear to be turning increasingly violent, with security forces and youth protesters becoming more unruly.

Residents of Caracas awoke on Monday to several smouldering barricades made of rubbish and torn-down street signs.

Access to the capital's centre was blocked at several points by heavily armed security forces looking to prevent a march to the Health Ministry to demand Mr Maduro open a so-called humanitarian corridor for the delivery of medicine and food aid.

On the outskirts of Caracas, where reports of night-time protests and looting have become more frequent, the situation was even more tense. Young men with their faces covered or wearing gas masks put down barbed wire at roadblocks every few blocks and menacingly asked bystanders for contributions to their "Resistance" movement.

Opposition leaders are urging restraint from their followers, but say security forces and pro-government militias - not the protesters - are behind the vast number of deadly attacks.

Mr Maduro accused protesters on Sunday of setting fire to a government supporter, saying what he calls "Nazi-fascist" elements are taking root in the opposition's ranks and contributing to a dangerous spiral of violence in the two-month anti-government protest movement.

He said that 21-year-old Orlando Zaragoza suffered burns to almost all his body when he was doused with petrol and set on fire at a protest in Caracas . Videos on social media show a man covered in flames fleeing a small mob.


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