At least 106 people have died since opposition protests began in April
Three people have been killed in clashes between Venezuelan security forces and protesters during an opposition-led strike against President Nicolas Maduro, which entered its second day on Thursday.
At least 106 people have died in total during anti-government unrest convulsing the South American OPEC nation since the opposition launched protests in April demanding elections to end nearly two decades of socialist rule.
Many streets around Venezuela remained barricaded and deserted during the second day of an opposition-led shutdown.
Demonstrators clashed with riot security forces at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela July 26, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
"People are working out of necessity," said coffee seller Jose Vazquez, 46, in Caracas though he had fewer customers than usual and there was little traffic on the streets around him.
The strike aims to pressure Maduro into cancelling a controversial vote for a new congress at the weekend.
The international community has broadly condemned the vote, and the United States on Wednesday announced sanctions against 13 current and former officials for corruption, undermining democracy, and participating in repression.
Maduro says he is going ahead with Sunday's election for the Constituent Assembly as the only way to empower the people and bring peace to Venezuela.
That added to the previously announced death of a 30-year-old man, also in mountainous Merida state.
Government officials and candidates for the Constituent Assembly were winding up campaigning on Thursday, with a rally planned for Caracas later in the day to be attended by Maduro.
Voters on Sunday will choose 364 constitutional representatives distributed across municipalities and state capitals and another 181 "sectoral" candidates from demographic groups ranging from students to farmers and fisherman.
Critics also note the lopsided representation of rural areas, where the Socialist Party has historically been strongest, at the expense of the opposition-leaning cities.
Caracas will choose only seven, according a document about the vote posted on the National Electoral Council's website.