UPDATE 2-Venezuela opposition protests for Maduro recall referendum amid clashes

miércoles 11 de mayo de 2016 14:27 GYT

(Adds Capriles incident)

By Andrew Cawthorne and Mircely Guanipa

CARACAS/PUNTO FIJO May 11 (Reuters) - Soldiers fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters on Wednesday as Venezuela's opposition marched to pressure electoral authorities into allowing a recall referendum against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

The Democratic Unity coalition has ramped up its push to oust Maduro amid a worsening economic crisis, but says the government-leaning electoral body is intentionally delaying the verification of signatures in favor of the referendum.

Waving flags and blowing whistles, hundreds marched in the capital of Caracas as well as the provinces - where food scarcity and power cuts are worse - but authorities blocked them from reaching election board offices.

Protesters and National Guards squared off on a Caracas highway, where demonstrators chanted "freedom" and waved copies of the constitution.

Some covered their faces and tossed stones.

"They don't let us march. They don't let us eat. They don't let us live peacefully. What else can we do? We have to fight however we can against this tyranny," said Juan, declining to give his surname as he donned a bandana.

At one point, an officer appeared to squirt pepper spray on two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, a video showed. Capriles later tweeted he was fine.   Continuación...