The number of deaths which can be connected to two weeks of anti-government protests in Venezuela has risen above 50, President Nicolas Maduro has said.
Official estimates put the number killed in clashes at 13.
Nicolas Maduro has blamed the violence on fascist groups.
The president was speaking ahead of a meeting intended to put an end to the unrest, sparked by anger at high inflation, rampant crime and food shortages.
But the main opposition coalition has refused to attend, calling it a farce.
“We will not lend ourselves to a sham dialogue that would end in a mockery of our compatriots,” the bloc’s vice-president, Jorge Arreaza, told reporters.
On Monday, Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega said 13 people had died in protest-related violence. At the time, opposition groups said the number of dead was at least 15.
Speaking at a pro-government rally staged by farmers outside the presidential palace, Nicolas Maduro said there were “more than 50 dead as a result of road blocks and barricades”.
“Yesterday, an 84-year-old lady died in eastern Caracas because she was held up at a road block for three hours and died in her family’s car of a heart attack,” he said.
He did not further clarify his reasons for giving a steep increase in the death toll.
Elsewhere in Caracas, hundreds of people, mostly women, led by the wife of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez protested against the government’s handling of the demonstrations.
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