Venezuela referendum: Woman، 61، shot dead in polling queue
Monday 17/July/2017 - 09:01 AM
A nurse aged 61 has been shot dead while waiting to vote in an unofficial، opposition-organised referendum in Venezuela's capital، Caracas، according to "BBC". Men on motorbikes fired at a queue، killing her and wounding three others. Venezuela is in crisis، and more than 100 people have died in political clashes since April. More than 7m people cast ballots in Sunday's vote، according to a group of academics monitoring the referendum، which has no legal status. The rector of the Central University of Venezuela، Cecilia García Arocha، said 6،492،381 people voted within the country and another 693، 789 at polling stations abroad. The turnout is slightly less than the 7.7m people who voted for opposition candidates at the 2015 parliamentary elections. There are 19.5m registered voters in the country. Voting yes or no to three questions، 98% rejected the new assembly proposed by President Nicolas Maduro and backed a call for elections before his term of office ends in 2019. They also voted for the armed forces to defend the current constitution. The opposition blamed a "paramilitary" gang for the shooting incident. Video from the scene showed people rushing away from the gunshots، as many fled to a church. Opposition spokesman Carlos Ocariz said of the shooting: "We lament this very much، with great pain." Prosecutors said they would investigate the incident، and the woman was named as Xiomara Soledad Scott. She died minutes after reaching hospital. Separately، journalist Luis Olavarrieta was kidnapped، robbed and beaten by a group of people. He managed to escape and images emerged of him receiving medical attention. An official vote will be held on 30 July for a new assembly، which would have the power to rewrite the constitution and to dissolve state institutions. But critics say the new assembly could herald dictatorship. Opposition politicians organised Sunday's unofficial poll، held in improvised polling stations at theatres، sports grounds and roundabouts within Venezuela and in more than 100 countries around the world.