11 Photos Depict the Boiling Point of Venezuela's Anti-Goverment Protests

AP

Venezuelan security forces fired tear gas into crowds of demonstrators Wednesday in Caracas during ongoing protests of the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

A woman with a sign reading "There is no food" faces a line of police officers.  Federico Parra/Getty Images

According to Reuters"several thousand" protesters clamored to reach the steps of the country's electoral body, seeking a recall referendum to end Maduro's socialist rule of the country.

People are arrested during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.  Federico Parra/Getty Images

Venezuela is an oil-rich country on the verge of economic collapse.

An anti-government protester is detained by police.  Ariana Cubillos/AP

A mismanaged state-owned oil industry and government overspending have resulted in entire cities currently facing shortages of food and electricity throughout the country. 

A protester with a Venezuelan flag is pushed away by National Guard officers  Ariana Cubillos/AP

Civilians line up in the streets for hours just to buy a loaf of bread.

People stand in a bread line Tuesday in Caracas.  Federico Parra/Getty Images

"They're scared. Venezuelans are tired, hungry," Alfredo Gonzalez, a 76-year-old protester, told Reuters.

A protester holds a sign that reads "Recall now! Bye Maduro!" next to a line of police.  Juan Barreto/Getty Images

Looting, riots and violent clashes with police have become commonplace in the country since Maduro announced daily power cuts as a means of conserving energy last April.

Protesters clash with police in Caracas.  Federico Parra/Getty Images

Wednesday's protests were sparked after Madura declared a 60-day emergency period in the country, during which soldiers and police would have more autonomy to respond to the country's economic emergency.

A woman demonstrates in front of a line of Bolivarian police in Caracas.  Fernando Llano/AP

Henrique Capriles, leader of the resistance movement to Maduro's government, told journalists he roundly rejected the president's mandate, saying it would give him unconstitutional powers.

Protesters clash with police in the streets  Juan Barreto/Getty Images

"We, Venezuelans, will not accept this decree. This is Maduro putting himself above the constitution," Capriles said. "To impose this, he'd better start preparing to deploy the war tanks and military jets."

Anti-government protesters push against Bolivarian police.  Fernando Llano/AP

Capriles also told the country's military that the time to declare their allegiance had come.

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads, "Venezuela, I want you free"  Ariana Cubillos/AP

"And I tell the armed forces: The hour of truth is coming, to decide whether you are with the constitution or with Maduro," he said.

Read more: In Venezuela, A Pack of Condoms Now Costs More Than Your iPhone