Venezuela opposition delays protest until Friday

  • Venezuela opposition delays protest until Friday

Venezuela opposition delays protest until Friday

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held an election on Sunday to appoint members of the newly-created National Constituent Assembly, which was denounced by his critics as unconstitutional.

The United States will not recognize the National Constituent Assembly, the U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, adding that the election lacked credible global observation.

"The United States considers the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly the illegitimate product of a flawed process designed by the Maduro dictatorship to further its assault on democracy", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, citing problems from the way the election was decreed to the design of the balloting.

It comes only four days after opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and the former mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, were forcibly taken from their homes by security forces.

The sanctions are rumored to be the first of many being planned by the USA government.

"We thank the people of Venezuela and the worldwide community for their concern and solidarity".

Attorney General Luisa Ortega's office said on Twitter that state prosecutors had filed a case to block Friday's inauguration, "based on suspected crimes committed" during the election.

The legislative palace has been witness to bloody clashes in recent weeks and Friday's installation of the all-powerful assembly, which Maduro has vowed to use to strip opposition lawmakers of their constitutional immunity, sets the stage for an intensified power struggle.

The Information Ministry referred Reuters to statements National Elections Council chief Tibisay Lucena made in response to Smartmatic's accusations on Wednesday, prior to the prosecutor's announcement.

The constituent assembly, to be inaugurated on Friday, will have broad powers, including that of re-writing the constitution. Mugica claimed to have identified that the "difference between the announced figure and the number produced by the system is at least 1 million voters". He also repeated the government's stance that eight million people voted, adding that the turnout would have been 10 million if others had not been blocked by protesters. Spain's ambassador to Venezuela was among a group of legislators who visited the National Assembly on Tuesday in a show of support after the constituent assembly ellection.

The opposition contends the vote was rigged to pack the assembly with supporters of Maduro. President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, agreed that Maduro must restore the rights of the Venezuelan people in a phone call Friday to discuss several ongoing global crises, according to a readout of the conversation by the White House.