People take part in a rally in memory of the people who died during protests in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 17, 2017. Venezuela's prosecutor-general confirmed on Wednesday the death of a 15-year-old, bringing the total death toll during protests in the country to 43 since April 1. (Xinhua/Boris Vergara)
CARACAS, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's prosecutor-general confirmed on Wednesday the death of a 15-year-old, bringing the total death toll during protests in the country to 43 since April 1.
The government has ordered an investigation into the death of Jose Francisco Guerrero, who is thought to have been shot in the back, during a protest in the western state of Tachira.
The country's Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, ordered on Wednesday the deployment of 600 special troops, backed up 2,000 regular soldiers, to Tachira in order to halt violence in the state, where army and police forces have come under attack.
According to reports, Guerrero was not participating in the protest on Tuesday afternoon but was going shopping when he was caught in the middle of clashes between protesters and the Bolivarian National Guard.
His death brings to 43 the total death toll since a ramping up in protests was called by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) in response to what it sees as abuse of power by the government.
Over 600 people have been injured and over 1,000 arrested since April 1.
This week, protests have focused largely on the states of Tachira and Miranda, as well as in Carabobo, where a police officer was reported shot dead on Monday.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of "financing" paramilitary groups who seek to spread the violence, while the MUD accuses the police and army of brutal suppression tactics.