Slain beauty queen mourned in Venezuela

| Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, 5:36 p.m.

VALENCIA, Venezuela — A university student beauty queen was mourned Friday in the provincial Venezuelan city where she was slain this week during a political protest, a victim of what government opponents say is indiscriminate violence used by President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters to stifle dissent across the country.

Family members and friends of 22-year-old Genesis Carmona say the former Miss Tourism 2013 for the central Venezuelan state of Carabobo was shot down by members of the armed militias known as “colectivos” who opened fire on a demonstration in Valencia on Tuesday.

The government says the incident is under investigation but has suggested she may have been shot by an opposition protester, a suggestion that drew scorn at the private Mass and graveside memorial attended by several hundred people.

“She wanted to support her country and, well, look what it cost her for going out with a flag and a whistle. Killed by government mercenaries,” said Jose Gil, an uncle of Carmona.

People at the service who were at the rally said they saw a group of up to 50 men on motorcycles, armed with handguns fire directly into the crowd of about 3,000 demonstrators, setting off a panicked stampede through the street.

“We were protesting peacefully and this was like a war,” said Emilio Morillo, 18.

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