Hundreds of university students held protests in Venezuela on Wednesday to condemn the fatal shooting of an undergraduate during a demonstration earlier this week.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in a Caracas plaza chanting "No to violence! No to impunity!" They marched through the streets and onto a highway, blocking traffic.

Students also held protests in other cities to denounce the murder of 20-year-old Jesus Eduardo Ramirez, who was shot Tuesday in the western city of San Cristobal as students denounced power outages and gasoline shortages.

His university's rector said the death came during clashes between opponents and supporters of President Hugo Chavez.

Authorities say they have yet to determine who was responsible.

Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami criticized the police in opposition-led Tachira state, saying they withdrew from guarding the march shortly before the shooting and should have prevented the violence.

Tachira state Gov. Cesar Perez Vivas rejected the criticism, telling the Venezuelan TV channel Globovision that the justice minister was seeking to politicize the case and "cover up the real guilty ones behind this crime."

Perez said the student died during an "ambush" of the protest, which he charged occurred after local leaders of Chavez's socialist party called for a counter-demonstration and promoted it on some television channels.

Perez accused armed groups linked to pro-Chavez partisans of being responsible, saying there are videos showing people with guns. The government did not immediately respond to the accusations.