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Seven killed, 61 injured in Venezuelan post-election protests

The violent protests following Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela have so far left seven people dead and 61 others injured, Venezuelan General Attorney Luisa Ortega said on Tuesday.

Protests erupted in parts of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities on Monday after Acting President Nicolas Maduro was declared winner of the election. As Maduro only held a narrow lead, the opposition rejected the results and demanded a vote recount.

According to official figures, Maduro obtained 50.75 percent of the votes, while Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate, garnered 48.97 percent.

Ortega said that one person was killed and another injured when a group of opposition supporters fired shots at Maduro's supporters celebrating victory in La Limonera, Baruta Municipality in southeast Caracas.

Maduro has blamed "fascist mobs" for the violence, accusing the opposition of fermenting a coup. He also said that he would not allow the opposition to go ahead with a planned protest march on Wednesday through the streets of Caracas.

"You are not going to the center of Caracas to fill it with death and blood," he warned in a nationally televised statement while calling on his own supporters to take to the streets.

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles blamed Maduro and his government for the violence.

"The illegitimate one and his government ordered that there be violence to avoid a vote count! They are the ones responsible," he wrote on his Twitter account.

Later Tuesday, Capriles called off the march by his supporters in Caracas, saying that his rivals were plotting to abuse the rally to trigger violence.

Capriles said he defeated President-elect Nicolas Maduro at Sunday's election, and had planned a peaceful march to demand for a full vote recount.

Besides the opposition, the President-elect Maduro also accused the U.S. of being behind the unrest.

"The (U.S.) embassy has financed and led all these violent acts, " said Maduro during a televised meeting at the headquarters of a state oil company.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales Tuesday demanded the U.S. government to respect the election result in Venezuela, which gave the victory to Nicolas Maduro.

The State Department of the United States said, without the recount, it would not recognize the results of Sunday's unexpectedly close election.

Some 79.17 percent of Venezuela's 18.9 million eligible voters went to the polls Sunday.

Maduro, who served as acting president after Chavez's death of cancer on March 5, will govern until 2019.

[Source: Xinhua, Caracas, 16Apr13]

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