Hugo Chavez, left, and Henrique Capriles.

Two opposition activists were shot dead Saturday during a confrontation over Venezuela's heated presidential election.

The shooting occurred when loyalists of President Hugo Chavez and his opponent, Henrique Capriles, faced off on a road between the communities of Barinas and Barinitas in the country's central plains, about 280 miles southwest of Caracas, The Associated Press reported.

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Reuters reported the gunmen fired from a van that witnesses said belonged to state oil company PDVSA or the local mayor's office.

The vehicle had been blocking the opposition motorcade. Two others were injured and six people were arrested following the attack, Reuters reported.

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Previous clashes have been reported, but these are the first deaths tied to the campaign for the Oct. 7 election.

Recent polls show Chavez's lead over Capriles has narrowed to 10 percentage points from 15 percentage points.

The shooting occurred the same day that China launched a second satellite into orbit for Venezuela from the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu, CNN reported.

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