Image provided by Venezuela's Presidency shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) taking part in a rally in support of his government, at the Miraflores Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Jan. 23, 2019. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday announced he was severing "diplomatic and political" ties with the United States after the U.S. authorities recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation's interim president. (Xinhua/Venezuela's Presidency)
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over unrest in Venezuela and called for de-escalation of tension, said his spokesman on Thursday.
"The secretary-general is concerned over reports of casualties in the context of demonstrations and unrest in Venezuela and calls for a transparent and independent investigation of these incidents," said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.
"At this critical time, he urges all actors to lower tensions and pursue every effort to prevent violence and avoid any escalation," said the statement.
Guterres underlined the urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the protracted crisis in the country, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights, it added.
Anti-government protests in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas turned violent on Wednesday among domestic political strife and tensions between Caracas and Washington.