In Venezuela Court threatens opponent Capriles with arrest

Venezuela's Supreme Court threatened Thursday to jail senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles if he lets anti-government protesters block roads in the state he governs.

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Opposition leader Henrique Capriles (C) takes part in a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas play

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles (C) takes part in a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas

(AFP/File)
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Venezuela's Supreme Court threatened Thursday to jail senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles if he lets anti-government protesters block roads in the state he governs.

In its latest swipe at embattled President Nicolas Maduro's opponents, the high court ordered Capriles to take "all actions" possible to stop protesters from shutting down roads in the northern state of Miranda.

It warned Capriles, who narrowly lost the 2013 presidential election to Maduro, would face six to 15 months of prison if he failed to comply.

"You must protect the residents of your state, preventing meetings or protests in the streets that impede the free flow of traffic," it said in its ruling.

Anti-government protests and looting have been raging across Venezuela for the past two months. Street protests regularly descend into violent clashes with police and pro-Maduro militia.

A Venezuelan National Guard policeman shoots rubber bullets at opposition activists during clashes in Caracas play

A Venezuelan National Guard policeman shoots rubber bullets at opposition activists during clashes in Caracas

(AFP)

The violence has left 60 people dead since April 1, when Maduro's opponents intensified their efforts to oust him after a Supreme Court ruling seizing power from the opposition-majority legislature.

Maduro's opponents accuse the government of holding scores of political prisoners, including Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of another wave of protests in 2014.

The opposition blames Maduro for an economic crisis marked by severe food and medicine shortages. He says the crisis is a US-backed conspiracy.

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