Venezuelan student leader Juan Bautista Lopez Manjarrez was shot and killed on Thursday at the Territorial Polytechnic University in Anzoategui by an unknown shooter. Three others were left injured, Venezuela’s Public Ministry reported.
Lopez, leader of the Federation of University Centers and member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, was shot after leaving an assembly held on the university’s campus. The attacker fired several shots and fled on a motorcycle.
Lopez was killed a day after publicly backing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s proposal for a national constituent assembly during a press conference. The assembly aims to bring together organizations from broad sectors of society to rewrite the country’s 1999 constitution in an attempt to ease ongoing political tensions.
Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, however, slammed the proposal as a “coup” and called for protesters to rebel against the move, leading many to believe they were behind Lopez’s murder. Local newspaper El Vistazo reported that at least 23 rounds were fired.
Since April, up to 39 people have been killed in Venezuela amid ongoing right-wing opposition protests.
Opposition leaders have attempted to portray the deaths as examples of state repression and evidence of the “dictatorship” that they are aiming to topple. Mainstream media have by and large echoed this version of events, ignoring the deaths of leftist activists like Lopez by suspected right-wing protesters.
In addition to the more than three dozen killed, over 437 people have been injured in the protests, according to Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega.