Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 

Venezuelan police fired tear gas and turned water cannons on stone-throwing protesters on Saturday to stop them blocking a Caracas highway in a fourth day of sporadic unrest against President Nicolas Maduro's government.

The latest trouble flared as night fell, after thousands of Maduro supporters had earlier flooded the center of the capital to call for peace and make a show of political strength after this week's deadly violence during street protests.

Three people were shot dead on Wednesday in the worst violence since Maduro's disputed election last year.

The 51-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez has faced two weeks of mainly small protests led by students and hardline opposition leaders complaining about Venezuela's rampant crime, shortages of basic products, and alleged repression of political rivals.

-- Reuters

Opposition demonstrators shout slogans against the National Bolivarian Police as it tries to break up their protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 15.Alejandro Cegarra / AP
Thousands of anti-government students lie on the ground during a protest in front of the Venezuelan Judiciary building in Caracas on Feb. 15.LEO RAMIREZ / AFP - Getty Images
Riot policemen shoot at anti-government students holding a protest during clashes in Caracas on Feb. 15.JUAN BARRETO / AFP - Getty Images
Riot police use water to disperse opposition demonstrators as they block the city's main highway during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Feb. 14.Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters