Published Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 | 11:48 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 | 11:49 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is expressing deep concern about violence in Venezuela and calling for those responsible to be held accountable.
Spokesman Jay Carney says the use of security forces and armed gangs by the Venezuelan government to disrupt peaceful protests is alarming and could lead to more violence. Carney is also calling for the immediate release of scores of anti-government protesters who have been arrested and detained by the authorities.
Hundreds of students in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas have spent the past week alternating between peaceful daytime protests and nighttime battles with police in unrest fed by rampant crime, high inflation and shortages of basic goods.
Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez re-emerged Tuesday from days of hiding and addressed thousands of supporters before turning himself in to police.