The clashes are in response to last week's announcement by President Nicolas Maduro which said the Venezuelan government is removing the country's highest banknote, the 100-bolivar note. Maduro said that the removal of the banknote is an effort to quell organized crime and the black market.
Maduro has accused USA president Barack Obama of encouraging the riots as an attempt to overthrow his left-wing government. On television, Maduro said that 300 people have been arrested for looting.
Even though Maduro has postponed the removal of the banknote until early January 2017, many stores are already refusing to accept it.
Data from central banks suggests that there are over six billion 100-bolivar notes in circulation, which is about half of the country's currency. The 100-bolivar note is being replaced with a 500-bolivar note.
The 100-bolivar note is worth about $0.02 US dollars.
looting - stealing by many people at once
rioting - big crowds of people causing conflict in public
to deplete - to disappear; to (slowly) have no more
clash (noun) - (physical) conflict
to quell - to stop; to suppress
black market - the illegal buying and selling system in a country
to ovethrow - to bring down the present government
left-wing - communist / socialist
to postpone - to delay
in circulation - in use within a country / region