Tens of thousands gather at Colombia-Venezuela border concert

The Wider Image Malnourished Venezuelans hope urgently needed aid arrives soon

After this first bloodshed linked to efforts to bring aid into the country against the orders of embattled Maduro, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly appealed for violence to be avoided in Venezuela, a U.N. spokesman said.

At least five Venezuelan troops have abandoned their posts at the country's border with Colombia as confrontations with protesters over incoming humanitarian aid grow more violent by the day.

Venezuelan troops fired tear gas at angry protesters unable to cross into Colombia on Saturday after President Nicolas Maduro closed the border to stop the opposition bringing US humanitarian aid into the South American nation. "We've been told colectivos shot at people at the border and the situation is grave", said the group's director, Alfredo Romero, who said the organization had a team on the ground.

At the country's other border in Brazil, four people have been killed as of Friday, and an additional 18 have been injured by colectivos - armed gang members who support President Nicolas Maduro, according to Alfredo Romero, the director and president of the Venezuelan human rights association Foro Penal. "We have already have healthcare and food in Venezuela".

Clockwise from top left; Venezuelan singer "Chyno" performs during "Venezuela Aid Live" concert; thousands attend the "Venezuela Aid Live" concert at Tienditas International Bridge in Cucuta, Colombia; People with Venezuelan flags chant anti-government slogans on their way to the concert in Urena, Venezuela; Richard Branson organized the Venezuela Aid Live concert.

"I'm a homemaker and I'm here fighting for my family, for my children and parents, resisting the military's tear gas and soldiers on motorbikes", said Sobeida Monsalve, 42, in Urena.

Meanwhile, across the border in Venezuela, government workers were assembling a smaller stage for Maduro's concert.

Maduro denies there are significant food and medicine shortages in Venezuela and has accused the United States of using its aid donations, which account for most of the supplies on the Colombian side of the border, as a cover for military intervention.

Thousands of volunteers will help get the aid into Venezuela, he said according to BBC.

Three members defected at Venezuela's border with Colombia, the Colombian immigration department said.

Guaido has said that global aid for the country, reeling from a long political and economic crisis, would enter Saturday despite an armed government blockade.

Maduro blames Venezuela's dire situation on USA sanctions that have blocked funds and hobbled the OPEC member's vital oil industry.

Maduro declared that he is breaking diplomatic relations with Colombia, which has called for his ouster and thrown its support to Guaidó.

In a sign of the importance of the issue to the White House, President Donald Trump's top national security adviser John Bolton canceled a weekend trip to South Korea to talk to allies ahead of a summit next week on North Korea's nuclear talks.

Even as several million Venezuelans flee and those who remain struggle to find basic goods like food and antibiotics, Maduro contends the aid is a ploy by the Trump administration to overthrow his government.

"Today the obstacles that the dictatorship created will tomorrow be rivers of unity of peace", Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the opposition-run Congress, said in a news conference on Friday in Cucuta, where he was received by Colombian President Ivan Duque. "We are with you".

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