Protests in Venezuela remained deadly Wednesday, as a fifth death was reported. Anti-government protester Genesis Carmona, age 22, was shot in the head in the city of Valencia, the latest casualty as a result of the clashes that have shaken the country, according to Reuters
Unrest erupted in Venezuela a couples weeks ago as thousands of demonstrators gathered to express frustration with goods shortages, corruption and lack of free speech, CNN reported.
Leopoldo Lopez, one of the leaders of the opposition protests, encouraged Venezuelans to speak out against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s allegedly corrupt government.
“Don’t leave the streets … we must take up our right to protest but we must do it peacefully," Lopez said at a rally in Caracas, Euronews reported. "Brother, I ask you and every Venezuelan who wants change … we must inform ourselves, gather ourselves … organize ourselves and hold nonviolent protests.”
However, the government has charged Lopez with murder, terrorism and arson in connection to the protests and now awaits his trial after he turned himself in Tuesday.
"The options I had were leave the country, and I will never leave Venezuela!" Lopez told the massive crowd before he relinquished himself to the Venezuelan authorities. "The other option was to remain in hiding, but that option could have left doubt among some, including some who are here, and we don't have anything to hide."
Lopez has denied the government’s accusations and has asked protesters to substantiate his position by sending in their accounts of the protests, CNN reports.
"The last thing he said to me was for me to not forget what he is going through," said Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori de Lopez, in an interview with CNN. "Not forget that he is arrested for things that he has asked for: the liberation of political prisoners, liberation of students, no more oppression and no more violence."
But Lopez’s arrest has done little to subdue protests. Maduro blames the opposition for creating the very problem’s its protesting and has called them “fascists” and a “parasitic bourgeoisie” supported by the U.S., Business Week reported.