13:21 GMT +315 December 2017
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    Masked anti-government demonstrators stend to a burning barricade during a protest against the installation of a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017

    Venezuela's New Chief Prosecutor to Open Probe Into Crimes During Protests

    © AP Photo/ Ariana Cubillos
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    Venezuela's newly appointed Prosecutor General Tarek Saab said Friday that he will open an investigation into the cases of crimes during violent protests in the country that has been previously denied by the Attorney General's Office, local media reported Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Prensa Latina, Saab told a press conference that the Attorney General's Office will open a probe into cases of murders and injuries during road blockages, environmental damage and hate crimes based on political views.

    Saab also said that he had established a working group for the reorganization of the Attorney General's Office, appointing new superior attorneys Venezuela's states of Anzoategui, Carabobo, Miranda and Yaracuy.

    He added that the investigation would also focus on the illegal involvement of minors in the protests, stressing that the reluctance of the Attorney General's Office to investigate the cases earlier was a "shame," as it was strongly criticized by the UNICEF.

    UNICEF has repeatedly expressed its concerns with the cases of children and adolescents taking part in the violent protests in Venezuela, stressing that it posed a threat to their safety and emotional wellbeing. The UN agency urged the competent authorities to ensure the protection of children and the peaceful nature of the demonstrations.

    Venezuela has been facing mass protests since spring. In May, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his decision to convene the National Constituent Assembly, a move that was regarded by the opposition as an attempted coup, and only resulted in the further escalation of tensions. On July 30, Venezuela held an election of members to the Constituent Assembly, a new legislative body with the power to amend the Constitution. The election took place against the backdrop of mass protests across the country, which resulted in 10 deaths on election day and over 120 deaths since early April.

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    probe, protests, Venezuela
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