Protesters Clashing With National Guard in Western Venezuelan State of Merida


Protesters Clashing With National Guard in Western Venezuelan State of Merida

Violence continued to rage on the streets, with another seven people killed during the latest opposition-led strike against President Nicolas Maduro's planned election for a powerful new Constituent Assembly today.

Despite President Nicolas Maduro's assurances that anyone caught protesting would face time behind bars, opposition leaders urged Venezuelans to take to the streets, a call that thousands have evidently heeded.

"This Sunday, it will be decided whether the country will continue to exist as a republic or a personalistic and totalitarian system will be established", Ortega Diaz said, as quoted by El Universal publication.

There have been reports of sporadic looting and clashes between protesters manning barricades of tree branches and barbed wire since the demonstration ban was put in place. She is prohibited from leaving the country and transferring property to management of third parties, all her accounts are frozen.

In April, Maduro's supporters on the Supreme Court tried to strip the National Assembly of its powers, setting off the protests and clashes between police and demonstrators.

Turnout will be key in the election. He said the office of Venezuela's chief prosecutor, who recently became one of Maduro's most outspoken critics, would be "turned upside down".

In April, Maduro's supporters on the Supreme Court tried to strip the National Assembly of its powers, setting off protests and clashes between police and demonstrators that have left at least 113 dead and almost 2,000 wounded.

Maduro's decree cracking down on demonstrations warned that those taking part risked up to 10 years in prison.

But fear of the violence worsening has rippled across the region, and beyond.

Several foreign airlines have suspended flights to the country, and families of United States diplomats there have been ordered to leave.

The US, the European Union and Latin American powers, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, have come out against the election, saying it would destroy Venezuelan democracy.

Also last Friday Colombia's finance minister told a local radio station that his nation would sanction the same 13 current and former high-level Venezuelan officials cited by the U.S. government earlier in the week.

Maduro called on May 1 for the election of an assembly with the powers to rewrite the country's 1999 constitution.

The head of Datanalisis, Luis Vicente Leon, said the Constituent Assembly "wasn't being formed to solve the country's problems", but was instead a political gambit because the uncharismatic Maduro - whose term is meant to finish next year - "can't win elections".

Venezuela's opposition said it is ready to change tactics in its bid to bring down President Nicolas Maduro after today's election of a legislative super-body that they say is created to tighten the socialist's already strong hold on power. "We're all extremely nervous".

"People are desperately buying groceries while they can because who knows if we'll be able to keep buying on Monday", Nestor Escalante, a 50-year-old graphic designer, told Reuters outside the Always Fresh grocery store in Caracas.

Some in Maduro's administration have broken ranks with him, most prominently his attorney general. Two diplomats resigned last week in dissent: one at the United Nations and another at the embassy in Panama.