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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's opposition is looking to keep up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro by taking to the streets again Thursday hours after three people were killed and hundreds arrested in the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years.

Tens of thousands of protesters demanding elections and denouncing what they consider to be an increasingly dictatorial government were met by a curtain of tear gas and rubber bullets as they attempted to march to downtown Caracas on Wednesday. Dozens had to slide down a concrete embankment and into the Guaire River to escape the noxious fumes.

Across the country, the clashes were intense. Pro-government militias, some of whose members were armed, were blamed for the two deaths, including that of a teenager in Caracas who was heading to a soccer game with friends. Overnight, a National Guard sergeant was killed and a colonel injured when their squad was attacked with gunfire while trying to control disturbances in a city near Caracas, the chief prosecutor's office said.

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