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PARIS (AP) — France’s top officials and presidential candidates attended a national ceremony Tuesday to honor the police officer killed by an Islamic extremist on the Champs-Elysees.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, who are facing off in the May 7 presidential runoff, were present at the ceremony at the Paris police headquarters. Others present were Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Francois Hollande paid tribute to 37-year-old Xavier Jugele, who was killed last week when an assailant opened fire with an assault rifle on a police van parked on the most famous avenue in the French capital. Two other officers were wounded.

The attacker was shot and killed by officers. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hollande said the French people must “support the police. They deserve our esteem, our solidarity, our admiration.”

In a message to the presidential candidates, Hollande also asked France’s future government to “provide the necessary budget resources to recruit the indispensable people to protect our citizens and give them means to act even more efficiently.”

Hollande recalled that France’s police and military forces are deployed on French territory and abroad to fight terrorism in Iraq, Syria and in Africa’s Sahel region.

This is “a combat that will last, a combat that will be fought until the threat is definitively over. That combat will be long, demanding, difficult but, I am certain, victorious,” he said.

Jugele was one of the officers who raced to the Bataclan concert hall the night three armed men with suicide bombs stormed a show and slaughtered 90 people on Nov. 13, 2015.

He returned to the concert venue a year later as a spectator when it reopened with a concert by Sting. Jugele told People magazine at the time how happy he was to be here “to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”

Jugele also was a member of a French association of LGBT police officers. He was in a civil union. In a speech during the ceremony, his partner, Etienne Cardiles, said: “Let’s stay dignified, let’s take care of peace and preserve peace.”

Jugele had worked in the Paris area as a police officer since 2011. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Paris police department’s public order and traffic division.

He had received praise from bosses earlier this year for his courage during the evacuation of a building after an accidental blast in the western suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.

Jugele has been promoted to police captain and awarded Chevalier of the Legion of Honor posthumously.

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — There’s just one male northern white rhino left in the world, and he’s getting some help from the Tinder dating app.

A Kenyan wildlife conservancy is teaming up with Tinder for a campaign called “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World,” focusing on the rhino named Sudan.

They are raising money for research to save the species from extinction. The 43-year-old Sudan and his last two female companions are unable to breed naturally because of issues that include old age.

The campaign by the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Tinder aims to raise $9 million. The money will be used for ongoing research into methods, including in-vitro fertilization, to assist the rhinos in breeding.

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BERLIN (AP) — Violent crimes in Germany with far-right motives rose 14.3 percent last year after a bigger increase in 2015, and the country also saw another increase in hate crimes, authorities said Monday.

The Interior Ministry said that 1,698 violent right-wing crimes were recorded in 2016, up from 1,485 the previous year. In 2015, the figure soared as Germany saw a large influx of migrants.

There was a 3.6 percent increase last year in the broader category of “hate crimes” — offenses of a racist or anti-Semitic nature or targeting people because of their religion, often in online posts. They increased to 10,751 from 10,373 after surging in 2015.

Violent politically motivated crimes targeting homes for asylum-seekers were close to the previous year’s level — 169, compared with 177 in 2015. Including non-violent crimes such as cases involving propaganda, the total number of offenses against asylum centers slipped to 995 from 1,031.

Violent crimes with a far-left motive dropped by a quarter in 2016 to 1,702 — a fall that was apparently due to a lack of major politically sensitive events in Germany last year.

However, politically motivated offenses by foreigners rose by two-thirds last year, largely because of the conflict between Turkey and the outlawed PKK.

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LONDON (AP) — British police say the suspect in a nightclub acid attack that injured many people has been charged with multiple crimes.

Police say Arthur Collins was charged late Sunday with 14 counts of wounding with intent to do severe bodily harm and one count of throwing corrosive fluid on a person with intent to cause harm.

The April 17 attack at the Mangle nightclub left two people partially blinded and others with serious burns. Police say the fluid was thrown after a dispute developed between two groups in the east London club.

Collins is the boyfriend of reality TV performer Ferne McCann, who had urged him to turn himself in to authorities.

He is scheduled to appear in Thames Magistrates Court on Monday. Another suspect has also been charged.

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PARIS (AP) — Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced Sunday to a runoff in France’s presidential election, remaking the country’s political landscape and setting up a showdown over its participation in the European Union.

French politicians on the left and right immediately urged voters to block Le Pen’s path to power in the May 7 runoff, saying her virulently nationalist anti-EU and anti-immigration politics would spell disaster for France.

“Extremism can only bring unhappiness and division to France,” defeated conservative candidate Francois Fillon said. “As such, there is no other choice than to vote against the extreme right.”

The selection of Le Pen and Macron presented voters with the starkest possible choice between two diametrically opposed visions of the EU’s future and France’s place in it. It set up a battle between Macron’s optimistic vision of a tolerant France, a united Europe with open borders against Le Pen’s darker, inward-looking platform that called for closed borders, tougher security, less immigration and dropping the shared euro currency to return to the French franc.

With Le Pen wanting France to leave the EU and Macron wanting even closer cooperation between the bloc’s 28 nations, Sunday’s outcome meant the May 7 runoff will have undertones of a referendum on France’s EU membership.

The absence in the runoff of candidates from either the mainstream left Socialists or the right-wing Republicans party — the two main groups that have governed post-war France — also marked a seismic shift in French politics. Macron, a 39-year-old investment banker, made the runoff on the back of a grassroots campaign without the support of a major political party.

With 50 percent of the vote counted, the Interior Ministry said Sunday night that Le Pen had 24 percent of the vote, Macron had 22 percent, Fillon had 20 percent and far-right Jean-Luc Melenchon had 18 percent.

Melenchon refused to cede defeat. In a defiant speech to supporters, he said he would continue to await the results from France’s cities. The early vote count includes primarily rural constituencies that lean to the right.

Le Pen, in a chest-thumping speech to cheering supporters Sunday night, declared that she embodies “the great alternative” for French voters. She portrayed her duel with Macron as a battle between “patriots” and “wild deregulation” — warning of job losses overseas, mass migration straining resources at home and “the free circulation of terrorists.”

“The time has come to free the French people,” she said at her election day headquarters in the northern French town of Henin-Beaumont, adding that nothing short of “the survival of France” will be at stake in the presidential runoff.

Her supporters burst into a rendition of the French national anthem, chanted “We will win!” and waved French flags and blue flags with “Marine President” inscribed on them.

In Paris, protesters angry at Le Pen’s advance — some from anarchist and anti-fascist groups — scuffled with police. Officers fired tear gas to disperse the rowdy crowd.

Macron supporters at his election day headquarters in Paris went wild as polling agency projections showed the ex-finance minister making the runoff, cheering, singing “La Marseillaise” anthem, waving French tricolor and European flags and shouting “Macron, president!”

Mathilde Jullien, 23, said she is convinced Macron will beat Le Pen and become France’s next president.

“He represents France’s future, a future within Europe,” she said. “He will win because he is able to unite people from the right and the left against the threat of the National Front and he proposes real solutions for France’s economy.”

Fillon said he would vote for Macron on May 7 because Le Pen’s program “would bankrupt France” and throw the EU into chaos. He also cited the history of “violence and intolerance” of Le Pen’s far-right National Front party, founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was trounced in the presidential runoff in 2002.

In a brief televised message after the last polling stations closed, Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged voters to back Macron to beat the National Front’s “funereal project of regression for France and of division of the French.”

Socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon, who was far behind in Sunday’s results, quickly conceded defeat. Declaring “the left is not dead!” he also urged supporters to back Macron.

Voting took place amid heightened security in the first election under France’s state of emergency, which has been in place since gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris in 2015.

Polling agency projections for the overall race showed Macron in the lead with between 23 and 24 percent support, followed by Le Pen with between 21 and 23 percent.

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Elaine Ganley and Alex Turnbull in Henin-Beaumont, Chris den Hond in Le Touquet, Angela Charlton, Raphael Satter, Samuel Petrequin, Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Sylvie Corbet, Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Philippe Sotto in Paris and Brian Rohan in Cairo contributed to this report.

 

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LONDON (AP) — Britain marked Queen Elizabeth II’s 91st birthday on Friday with gun salutes, as the monarch celebrated quietly at home.

A troop of the Royal Horse Artillery rode horse-and-gun carriages past Buckingham Palace before staging a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park at noon (1100GMT.)

Outside the palace, a band of guardsmen in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats played “Happy Birthday” during the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

There was a second salute with 62 guns at the centuries-old Tower of London.

The queen is Britain’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, having become queen on Feb. 6, 1952. She is also the world’s longest-reigning living monarch since the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej last year.

The queen usually spends her birthday privately. She also has an official birthday, marked in June — when the weather is better — with the “Trooping the Color” military parade.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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BERLIN (AP) — A 28-year-old German-Russian citizen took out a five-figure loan to bet that Borussia Dortmund shares would drop, then bombed the soccer team’s bus in an attack he tried to disguise as Islamic terrorism in a scheme to net millions, German officials said Friday.

The suspect, identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy laws, was arrested by a police tactical team early Friday near the southwestern city of Tuebingen, federal prosecutors said.

“We are working on the assumption that the suspect is responsible for the attack against the team bus of Borussia Dortmund,” prosecutors’ spokeswoman Frauke Koehler told a news conference Friday.

She said the man came to the attention of investigators because he had made “suspicious options purchases” for shares in Borussia Dortmund, the only top-league German club listed on the stock exchange, on the same day as the April 11 attack.

W. had taken out a loan of “several tens of thousands of euros” days before the attack and bought a large number of so-called put options, betting on a drop in Dortmund’s share price, she said.

“A significant share price drop could have been expected if a player had been seriously injured or even killed as a result of the attack,” according to prosecutors, though Koehler said the precise profit W. might have expected was still being calculated.

Ralf Jaeger, the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said the suspect had hoped to earn millions.

“The man appears to have wanted to commit murder out of greed,” Jaeger said.

Investigators found notes at the scene claiming responsibility on behalf of Islamic extremists, which Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, said was a “particularly perfidious way to toy with people’s fears.”

He said the suspect had been under close surveillance for about a week and that the evidence against him was significant.

“The fact that someone wanted to enrich himself by killing people to influence the stock market is particularly reprehensible,” he said.

The suspect faces charges of attempted murder, causing an explosion and serious bodily harm, and will appear before a judge later Friday to determine if there is enough evidence against him to keep him in custody, Koehler said.

She said investigators believe W. acted alone — there are “no indications of possible helpers” — but would continue to probe the possibility he had accomplices.

Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured in the triple blasts as the bus was heading to the team’s stadium for a Champions League game. Bartra had to have surgery on his wrist and arm and is out of action for several weeks.

The team’s shares did slide slightly after the attack, but quickly recovered.

Dortmund’s first-leg match against Monaco was postponed and the team lost 3-2 to Monaco the next day. Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel criticized UEFA and top soccer officials for forcing the team to play such a top-level match so quickly after an attack on their team.

Prosecutors said they traced the computer used to purchase the put options to the luxury hotel in Dortmund where the team had been staying. They said W. had also booked a room there and placed three explosives, packed with shrapnel, along the route the bus would take to reach the stadium for their match against Monaco.

“The explosive devices were detonated at the optimum time,” prosecutors said, noting that the team bus was equipped only with security glass and not reinforced glass. The bomb shattered several windows on the bus, wounding Bartra. A police officer accompanying the bus also suffered trauma.

The club thanked authorities in a statement. “The fact that no further people were injured or killed was, as we now know, purely a matter of luck,” it said on Facebook.

Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer said the team needed to learn all it could about the attack.

“This information is important to everyone who sat in the bus because it would make it significantly easier to process (what happened),” he was quoted as saying.

After the three identical notes claiming responsibility for the attack were found at the scene, investigators initially considered the possibility that it might have been the work of Islamic extremists.

The notes demanded that Germany withdraw reconnaissance jets assisting the fight against Islamic State group and close the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany. But experts said the letter’s mix of correct, complicated German and obvious mistakes suggested it was a red herring — as were two subsequent claims pointing to left-wing and right-wing extremists.

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David Rising contributed to this report.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian panel charged with vetting candidates approved the country’s incumbent president and five challengers but disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month’s presidential election, state television reported Thursday.

The decision by the Guardian Council means that President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, will face off against a field that includes two prominent hard-liners: Ebrahim Raisi, who is considered close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf.

The Guardian Council, a cleric-dominated body that vets candidates, said it had compiled a final list of candidates earlier Thursday and that the Interior Ministry would announce their names by Sunday.

The panel controls elections and must approve all laws passed by parliament. It has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects political dissidents and others calling for dramatic reform.

Other presidential candidates who made the cut, according to an Interior Ministry statement carried by state TV, include moderate Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, former conservative culture minister Mostafa Mirsalim, and former pro-reform vice president Mostafa Hashemitaba.

Ahmadinejad, who remains a deeply polarizing figure even among Iranian hard-liners, had shocked the country by registering last week. Khamenei had previously urged him not to run.

Ahmadinejad was president from 2005 to 2013, and was best known abroad for his incendiary rhetoric toward Israel, his questioning of the scale of the Holocaust and his efforts to ramp up Iran’s nuclear program.

He said upon registering that he was doing so to support his former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, who also failed to receive approval to run.

“He was an unwanted guest in the election,” Tehran-based political analyst Soroush Farhadi said of Ahmadinejad’s disqualification. He predicted the former president would nonetheless remain politically active during the campaign to create a “quasi-opposition face for himself” for the future.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a close ally of Ahmadinejad, downplayed the two candidates’ exclusion, saying on social media that Ahmadinejad and Baghaei had only registered out of “national, religious and revolutionary duty.”

“Thank god, the Guardian Council removed the duty from their shoulders,” he wrote.

More than 1,600 people registered to run for the May 19 election.

Under Iran’s clerically overseen system, the president is subordinate to Khamenei, who is Iran’s top decision-maker and has the final say on all matters of state. Khamenei appoints half the Guardian Council’s members.

Rouhani, 68, is hoping voters will deliver him a second term to see out his promises of greater personal freedoms at home and openness to the wider world as he works to turn around Iran’s sagging economy — a top priority for many voters.

The election will be in many ways a referendum on his administration’s negotiation of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. That agreement gave Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions in exchange for limits to its nuclear program, but has been assailed by hard-liners who believe Iran gave too much away in exchange for too little.

While reliable polling information is not widely available, most political observers see Rouhani as the current front-runner even though he has been unable to significantly turn around Iran’s slumping economy. Every incumbent since Khamenei himself took the presidency in 1981 has won re-election.

Rouhani, though no radical, has the support of many reform-minded Iranians. Khamenei himself also might favor a second term for Rouhani despite his closeness to more hard-line candidates.

“Iranian presidents tend to become much weaker in their second terms, with a key cause being their greater susceptibility to control by the supreme leader and his institutions,” Mehdi Khalaji, an Iran expert at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote this week. “This helps explain Khamenei’s possible abstention from active support for the hard-line candidates.”

Rouhani’s toughest challenge could come from Raisi, 56, a hard-line cleric and professor of Islamic law who has promised to fight poverty and corruption if he’s elected. Many hard-liners have rallied around Raisi, who got a boost last year when Khamenei appointed him head of an Islamic charity that holds extensive business interests in Iran.

He has held several judiciary positions, including serving as attorney general from 2014 to 2016, and is mentioned as a possible successor for Khamenei himself.

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Schreck reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a Paris police officer. .

An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others before police shot and killed him.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the shopping avenue popular with tourists. She said he appeared to be acting alone.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist. They had no other details about him.

The attack came three days before the first round of balloting in France’s tense presidential election. Security is high preceding the vote after police said they arrested two men Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.

In Thursday’s attack, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He said officers were “deliberately” targeted.

Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting in Paris “looks like another terrorist attack” and sent condolences to France.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue lined with shops that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens, normally packed with cars and tourists. Subway stations were closed off.

The gunfire sent scores of tourists fleeing into side streets.

“They were running, running,” said 55-year-old Badi Ftaïti, who lives in the area. “Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them.”

Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.

French President Francois Hollande scheduled an emergency meeting Thursday night.

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris, one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting and saw a man’s body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area where she works in a shop.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

None of the candidates immediately commented.

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Associated Press Writers Lori Hinnant and Raphael Satter contributed to this report.

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Two people were shot dead as opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities Wednesday, battling security forces in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist leader.

Tens of thousands of protesters made an unsuccessful attempt to march to downtown Caracas as security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. Dozens even had to slide down a concrete embankment and into the Guaire River to escape the noxious fumes.

Carlos Romero, just three days away from his 18th birthday, was walking to play soccer with friends when he bumped into pro-government militias stalking a pocket of protesters, family spokesman Melvin Sojo told The Associated Press, based on the accounts of two people who rushed Romero to the hospital after he was hit by gunfire.

“This was supposed to be a happy moment but instead I came home to see my brother die,” said Sojo, who grew up in the Romero home and returned Tuesday from Ecuador, where he had been living the past year.

There was no immediate confirmation that the militias shot the boy, and some government officials cast doubt on the account, saying Romero was killed during an attempted assault.

In the western city of San Cristobal, a 23-year-old woman identified as Paola Ramirez was shot dead by similar groups, according to Mayor Patricia Gutierrez, who said the groups circled demonstrators on motorcycles as they were heading home from the demonstration.

The two killings bring to seven the death toll since protests began three weeks ago over the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers, a move that was later reversed but not before enraging the opposition and causing a storm of international criticism. The charges that Venezuela is moving toward a full-blown dictatorship come against the backdrop of an ever-deepening economic crisis.

As night fell, a few thousand people were still gathered in a plaza in wealthy eastern Caracas as residents in nearby buildings banged pots and pans in a show of support. A group of youths with their faces covered tore down street signs and billboards for makeshift barricades. They then launched rocks and Molotov cocktails against lines of police and national guardsmen who responded with tear gas in cat-and-mouse skirmishes likely to last deep into the night.

The Supreme Court’s decision energized Venezuela’s fractious opposition, which had been struggling to channel growing disgust with Maduro over widespread food shortages, triple-digit inflation and rampant crime. They’ve called for another day of protests Thursday.

“We’ll see each other tomorrow at the same place and same time because our fight for democracy doesn’t end,” former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who the government last week barred from running for public office, said at an evening press conference to announce the opposition’s next steps.

Opponents are now pushing for Maduro’s removal through early elections and the release of scores of political prisoners. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections the opposition was heavily favored to win and cut off a petition drive to force a referendum seeking Maduro’s removal before elections late next year.

Maduro, addressing supporters at a large countermarch, seemed open to some sort of electoral showdown. He said he was “anxious” to see elections take place sometime “soon” and repeated his call for dialogue, saying he had a proposal he wanted to make the opposition.

“Today they attempted to take power by force and we defeated them again,” said Maduro.

Opposition marchers included Liliana Machuca, who earns about $20 a month holding two jobs teaching literature. Although she doesn’t expect change overnight, she said protesting is the only option the opposition has after what she says are scores of abuses committed by the government.

“This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can,” said Machuca, her face covered in a white, sticky substance to protect herself from the noxious effects of tear gas. “We’ll see who tires out first.”

A short block away, a sea of red-shirted government supporters marched by calmly, some dancing to a salsa band that tried to provide an air of normalcy to the otherwise tense political standoff that has paralyzed Venezuela the past few weeks.

Many were state workers like Leidy Marquez, who was bused in from Tachira state, on the other side of the country, along with co-workers at state-run oil giant PDVSA.

“The opposition is trying to provoke a conflict but they aren’t going to achieve their goal,” said Marquez, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the eyes of the late Hugo Chavez, a symbol of revolutionary zeal in Venezuela.

The government has responded to the near-daily protests with its own show of force: jailing hundreds of demonstrators, barring Capriles from running for office and standing by as pro-government groups violently attack opposition members of congress.

The president also signed orders on TV late Tuesday activating the “green phase” of enigmatic military plans to defend Venezuela against what he describes as U.S.-backed attempts to sow chaos and overthrow him. He also said authorities in recent hours had rounded up unnamed members of an underground cell of conspirators at Caracas hotels, including some who were allegedly planning to stir up violence at the march.

Maduro didn’t provide evidence to back his claim that a coup attempt was underway, and the opposition rejected his comments as a desperate attempt to intimidate Venezuelans from exercising their constitutional right to protest.

“We’re convinced the country knows who the true coup mongers are and it’s against them we will march,” the opposition said in a Tuesday late-night statement.

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric and repressive stance of the government.

Maduro this week said he was dramatically expanding civilian militias created by Chavez and giving each member a gun. There’s also criticism that the government isn’t doing enough to restrain the collectives — motorcycle-driving militants — that have operated like shock troops firing on protesters as security forces stand by.

“We’re a peaceful people, but we’re also armed,” Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez told state workers gathering for Wednesday’s rally.

The U.S. State Department said those who commit human rights abuses and undermine Venezuela’s democratic institutions would be held accountable.

“We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in ways that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Wednesday.

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Joshua Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman

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More Associated Press reporting on Venezuela’s problems can be found at https://www.ap.org/explore/venezuela-undone

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