Grieving family members attend the funeral of a 14-year-old boy who died after he was shot during anti-Maduro protests

  • Yhoifer Hernandez was one of five people killed after thousands protested against President Nicolas Maduro
  • Died after he was hit by gunfire during Wednesday’s uprising – called for by opposition leader Juan Guaidó
  • Heartbreaking pictures show his friends and family in tears at the Eastern Cemetery in La Guairita, Caracas

Grieving family members and friends were at the funeral of a 14-year-old boy shot dead during a fierce uprising in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.

Yhoifer Hernandez was one of five people killed after thousands launched protests against President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The child was hit by gunfire during Wednesday’s clashes in Caracas, while 16-year-old Yosner Graterol died from a gunshot wound after unrest in the northern town of La Victoria on Tuesday.

Friends of 14-year-old Venezuelan boy Yhoifer Hernandez cry at his funeral after he was killed during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government

The heartbreaking scenes were captured at the Eastern Cemetery in La Guairita, Caracas, where the boy was buried yesterday

Yhoifer’s tombstone yesterday was a grey, mud-splattered brick, which was adorned with flowers after the emotional service  

A crowd of around 100 people gathered in the sandy graveyard for a service, with some seen holding umbrellas and another clutching the flag of Venezuela

A girl is consoled by a women as she weeps into her arms during the service. Yhoifer was hit by gunfire during Wednesday’s clashes in Caracas, while 16-year-old Yosner Graterol died from a gunshot wound after unrest in the northern town of La Victoria on Tuesday

Heartbreaking pictures show Yhoifer’s relatives and supporters break down in tears at the Eastern Cemetery in La Guairita, Caracas, as they buried the child yesterday.

A group of female attendees can be seen desperately clinging to Yhoifer’s coffin – which had been covered with a white sheet during a service.

Another image shows the mud-splattered slab of brick used as his tombstone, which has his name sprayed on to it in black paint.

A crowd of around 100 people gathered in the sandy graveyard for a service, with some seen holding umbrellas and another clutching the flag of Venezuela.

A couple stand at the boy’s grave which has a pile of soil ready to be smoothed over it as well as being littered with flowers brought by friends and family

A boy, believed to be a friend of Yhoifer, bows his head and hugs a woman during the service yesterday. The woman wipes her eyes during the gathering

A group of young girls and boys walk to the service in the Venezuelan capital yesterday carrying flows and one girl wipes away tears using a pink tissue

An alternative shot shows groups of people after the ceremony for 14-year-old Yhoifer yesterday. Heartbreaking pictures showed his friends and family break down in tears during a ceremony for him

The crowd of around 100 friends, family and supporters of the cause against President Nicolas Maduro walk towards the graveyard yesterday

It follows a week of bloodshed in Venezuela as the military loyal to President Maduro crushed an uprising inspired by opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

Mr Guaidó has urged his supporters to converge on military garrisons to try to persuade military forces to turn against Maduro, whose years in office have been marked by escalating hardship for most people in a country that was once one of the wealthiest in Latin America.

But in a show of strength yesterday, President Maduro posed for a photo with thousands of his soldiers and bellowed ‘loyal forever’ to a crowd of cadets in green uniforms.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (centre) poses for a picture with soldiers during a demonstration called ‘march of the military loyalty’

President Nicolas Maduro walks next to high commanders of the Armed Forces as he heads up a group of thousands of loyal soldiers during a demonstration

‘Loyal forever,’ Maduro bellowed to a crowd of soldiers and cadets who had joined him on the march of ‘loyalty’ yesterday 

But this morning, in a blow for President Maduro, seven Venezuelan military officers were killed after their helicopter crashed while heading to the state where he appeared alongside troops.

The Cougar helicopter hurtled into a mountain outside Caracas in the early hours of an overcast day in the capital and an investigation has been launched.

On board the helicopter were two lieutenant colonels as well as five lower-ranking officers.

The statement did not say if the chopper was part of the presidential delegation.

A French-made Cougar helicopter is shown during a military exercise on January 29. Seven military officers were killed when a helicopter (similar to that pictured) crashed into a mountain outside Caracas this morning

Also in Caracas yesterday, a protester handed over a written appeal for the military’s support, only for a Venezuelan policeman to burn the document in front of him.

The armed forces ‘won’t be blackmailed or bought’, said a second officer standing nearby.

Benito Rodriguez fumed as he watched the events unfold. 

‘It’s a humiliation,’ said Mr Rodriguez, a demonstrator who had joined a crowd of about 150 protesters gathered near La Casona, a residence historically used by Venezuelan presidents.

The scene highlights the uphill battle now facing opponents of Mr Maduro who have failed to persuade the country’s security forces to join efforts to oust the leader.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó previously urged supporters to converge on military garrisons to try to persuade forces to turn against Maduro

Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro block a road as they demonstrate at El Paraiso neighborhood in Caracas yesterday

A woman, who is against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, smiles at a riot police officer during a march in Caracas yesterday. Opponents of Mr Maduro now face an uphill battle to persuade the country’s security forces to join efforts to oust the leader

The critical role of the Venezuelan military in the country’s crisis was on display as Mr Maduro tried to portray strength by joining troops at the military academy, while Mr Guaido attempted to woo the armed forces to his side.

National television showed Mr Maduro wearing a camouflage hat as he shook hands and exchanged fist bumps with security forces during a visit to a military base before watching troops engage in a shooting exercise. 

As demonstrators linked arms and moved toward police, protest leader Maria Suarez urged calm.

‘Please, a lot of discipline,’ she said.

An emotional protester holds up a sign to soldiers as she speaks to them during yesterday’s anti-Maduro protest in Caracas yesterday

Mr Guaido had called his supporters for a mobilisation outside military installations to press the armed forces to support him, but it appeared to have failed after President Maduro made a speech to the army declaring ‘loyal forever’

Others broke the line and went forward to hand over printed documents, saying the military’s role in helping Venezuela emerge from an ‘unsustainable’ situation is vital.

‘They think it’s a joke. They don’t take us seriously. They’re not listening,’ said demonstrator Andrea Palma after police burned the paper with a lighter.

Divisions among the protesters were evident as some young men from poor neighbourhoods scoffed at a speaker who insisted that the gathering must be peaceful.

A woman holds a sign reading ‘Let’s shout with spirit! Death to oppression loyal compatriots. Union is force’ in front of riot police yesterday

‘It’s the frustration talking,’ said demonstrator Mariajose Molina.

The latest displays of will comes as the political standoff between Mr Maduro and US-backed Mr Guaido sinks deeper into a stalemate.

On Tuesday, Mr Guaido appeared outside a Caracas military base and urged the military to overthrow his political rival.

As the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly waited, however, it became clear his call had failed to rally armed forces to his side. Clashes between protesters and police then erupted, leaving five dead.

Mr Maduro’s government has also shown signs of weakness and has not moved to arrest Mr Guaido, who the US and over 50 other nations recognise as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

Venezuela leadership battle: A timeline of key events

April 2013: Maduro is elected leader of the South American nation, succeeding Hugo Chavez as President. 

February 18 2014: Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is placed under house arrest after a wave of protests against Maduro.

July 17 2017: Millions of Venezuelans vote down Maduro’s plans to take control of the country’s National Assembly.  

May 20 2018: Maduro wins another snap election despite claims of vote rigging by opposition leaders. 

January 23 2019: Guaido declares himself acting president at a rally of tens of thousands of people in Caracas demanding that Maduro quit.

US President Donald Trump immediately recognizes Guaido as acting president, as do Canada and major Latin American powers.

Maduro gets the support of allies including China, Russia, Turkey, Mexico and Cuba. 

January 26: Six European countries say they will also recognize Guaido unless Maduro calls elections. 

January 30: thousands of opposition protesters, led by Guaido, call on Venezuela’s military to abandon Maduro.

He demands that the Venezuelan government allow in foreign humanitarian aid, claiming the lives of thousands of people are at risk.  

February 4: Some 20 European countries also recognize Guaido. 

February 16: Guaido says he has the support of thousands of people to bring in aid via Colombia, Brazil and the Dutch island of Curacao. 

Venezuelan troops however block the road, preventing the aid from entering. 

February 21: Maduro shuts the border with Brazil. 

February 22: Russia also accuses the United States of using aid deliveries as a ploy for military action. 

March 7: most of Venezuela is plunged into darkness by a major power cut that lasts five days, followed by sporadic blackouts.

March 24: two Russian military planes bring in around 100 soldiers and 35 tons of equipment. 

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