Riot police with a water cannon clash with a march of students from the public Central University of Venezuela demanding a referendum on removing President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on June 9, 2016. / AFP / FEDERICO PARRA
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A top Venezuelan opposition lawmaker was injured Thursday when police fired tear gas and forcefully broke up protesters demanding the authorities move forward with a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.It was the fourth time in recent days that police have cracked down on protesters trying to march on the National Electoral Board (CNE), the gatekeeper to a referendum the opposition says must be held this year to stop a country in crisis from exploding into unrest.Led by a group of opposition lawmakers, the protesters earlier Thursday defied a cordon of police and soldiers.Maduro can still rally large crowds of his own.Lawmaker Jose Guerra, one of the protest leaders, said some of the pro-Maduro protesters had guns.After weeks of pressuring the CNE to allow the referendum process to go ahead, the opposition said Tuesday that the board had accepted as valid 1.3 million signatures on a petition for a recall vote.Under the constitution, the opposition would then have to gather four million more signatures -- 20 percent of the electorate -- to trigger a recall vote.
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