Venezuelan protesters try to keep momentum; govt counteracts with Carnival weekend

Thousands of anti-government marchers have converged on an upper-class Caracas district shaken by more than two weeks of unrest, trying to maintain momentum.

Students were joined by older opposition supporters in Sunday's peaceful protest, which the government sought to counteract with a long weekend holiday of Carnival events and the distribution of subsidized food.

The protests were launched by students fed up with crippling inflation, foodstuff shortages, unchecked violent crime and economic mismanagement.

The unrest is Venezuela's worst since President Hugo Chavez died of cancer a year ago. By government count, 18 have been killed and more than 260 injured.

Early Sunday, the government released 41 people arrested Friday in the wealthy Altamira district as radicals hurled Molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles at National Guard troops.