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Venezuelan opposition leader Capriles says party headquarters tear-gassed

Demonstrators clash with police during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, 08 April 2017.
Demonstrators clash with police during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, 08 April 2017. EPA/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles has claimed that his party’s headquarters caught fire after tear gas was lobbed inside.

Capriles tweeted a video that showed smoke bellowing out of a burning building. He said there were no casualties in the incident.

The co-founder of the Primero Justicio (Justice First) party strongly hinted that President Nicolas Maduro may have been behind the attack.

Around the same time, about a hundred protesters broke into an office of the Supreme Court and vandalized it, throwing construction materials inside and lighting a fire, according to a Reuters witness.

Thousands of people took part in marches across the country, with some protesters clashing with security forces. The unrest was sparked by the Maduro government’s recent decision to bar Capriles from running for office for 15 years.

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WATCH: Venezuelan government fires tear gas, rubber bullets into anti-Maduro protest

Click to play video: 'Venezuelan government fires tear gas, rubber bullets into anti-Maduro protest'
Venezuelan government fires tear gas, rubber bullets into anti-Maduro protest

 

The 44-year-old, who was seen by many as the opposition’s best chance in the presidential election scheduled for 2018, was barred for allegedly breaking contracting laws and improper management of donations. Critics say the ban allows Maduro’s Socialist Party to sideline popular politicians without due process.

Earlier Saturday, Capriles had urged a crowd of supporters in Caracas to march to the office of the state human rights ombudsman, whom the opposition says is a puppet of the government.

“The country has chosen the path of dictatorship,” he said.

— With files from Reuters

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