Protests against Maduro in Venezuela left 4 dead, activists say

Maduro's top court orders López's arrest

BOGOTA, Colombia – A Venezuelan human rights group said Thursday at least four people died, 230 were injured and 205 were detained during two days of protests against embattled President Nicolás Maduro.

Among the victims was 14-year-old Jhoufer Jesús Hernández Vásquez, who was with his dad in Altamira, when he decided to join the protesters despite his father's plea not to. His father told reporters he was shot dead and was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

The protesters were responding to Juan Guaidó's call for protests Tuesday and Wednesday. The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, a prominent human rights organization, reported two died in Caracas and two died in the city of La Victoria. 

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president, said Maduro's "brutal repression" must end, and he was sending prayers to Venezuelans who are on their "righteous struggle for freedom."

During an address on Venezuelan television Thursday, Maduro said he is tightening his grip. The Supreme Court justices who are loyal to Maduro issued an order to arrest opposition leader Leopoldo López after he escaped with his wife and children to stand with Guaidó. 

López, who was arrested in 2014, took refuge in the Spanish Embassy Wednesday afternoon after he was turned away from the crowded Chilean diplomatic residence.  Josep Borrell, who is foreign minister in Spain's caretaker government, told The Associated Press López is a guest at embassy.

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