Latin America & Caribbean

In pictures: Clashes break out in Venezuela border towns

Venezuelan border towns were overcome with violence on Saturday, as tensions over the delivery of humanitarian aid reached breaking point.

President Nicolás Maduro has partly sealed the country's border to try to stop aid stockpiles being carried over by supporters of the opposition's Juan Guaidó - who declared himself interim leader last month.

Here are some of the most dramatic photographs of the day's events.

A demonstrator gestures in front of Venezuelan national policemen standing guard at the Simon Bolivar international bridge, in Cucuta Image copyright AFP
Image caption A demonstrator faces police at the Simon Bolivar international bridge - connecting Venezuela to Cucuta, Colombia

Images from crossing points around the country showed security forces and protesters in stand-offs against each other.

Protesters used shoes and stones as projectiles and also set fires to try to deter military blockages. Security forces responded by pushing back and using tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

A demonstrator affected by tear gas is carried out from the Simon Bolivar international bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia, Image copyright AFP
Image caption A woman is overcome by tear gas at the bridge in Cucuta
A protestor holds a projectile Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A protestor with projectiles in Pacaraima on the border with Brazil

Mr Guaidó has shared messages on social media saying some aid has been able to pass in from collection points in Brazil and Colombia, despite government resistance.

Local media said supporters jumped barricades to cross the border in defiance of President Maduro's closures.

Opposition supporters unload humanitarian aid from a truck that was set on fire after clashes between opposition supporters and Venezuela's security forces at Francisco de Paula Santander bridge on the border between Colombia and Venezuela as seen from Cucuta, Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Some images appeared to show aid trucks that had managed to pass, being burned
Bolivarian police are accompanied by Colombian police after they defected and entered the country seeking help Image copyright AFP
Image caption Defecting members of security forces from the state of Bolivar being escorted by Colombian police
A protester holds up an injured and bandaged hand Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds of injuries were reported
A demonstrator hits barbed wire during clashes with security forces in Urena, Venezuela Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A dramatic image shows a protester running into barbed wire strung across a street in Ureña

As protesters gathered at the border, President Maduro held a rally in support of his government in the country's capital Caracas.

He was photographed dancing at the event and stood at a podium emblazoned with the words #TrumpHandsOffVenezuela - referencing the US support of Mr Guaidó.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures to supporters during a rally in support of the government in Caracas Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Maduro has suggested the aid is part of a US ploy to exert influence
Guaidó embraces Colombia's President Ivan Duque Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Guaidó is photographed embracing Colombia's President Ivan Duque

Supports of Mr Guaidó, however, also gathered in Caracas.

They included this man, who drew attention for wearing a Spiderman costume, while demonstrating with the Venezuelan flag.

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido take part in a rally in Caracas, on February 23, 2019 Image copyright AFP

All photographs copyright.

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