Venezuela: Chavistas Storm National Assembly in Protest at Impeachment Attempt
Hundreds of Chavistas forced their way into parliament after opposition legislators declared that President Nicolas Maduro had “abandoned the constitutional functions” of his presidency.
Caracas, October 23 - Violence erupted at Venezuela’s legislature on Sunday, after crowds of government supporters stormed past security in protest at what they are calling an impeachment attempt against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
Earlier that day, opposition lawmakers signed a document declaring a “rupture” of Venezuela’s constitutional order and accusing Maduro of “abandoning the constitutional functions” of his presidency. The statement, which was released as Maduro touched down in Saudi Arabia for top level oil negotiations, also appeals to the international community to apply “mechanisms to guarantee the Venezuelan people’s rights”.
The opposition-held National Assembly called Sunday’s extraordinary parliamentary session after the National Electoral Council temporarily halted their attempts to proceed with a recall referendum against Maduro due to fraudulent activity in the initial signature collection stage. The suspension unleashed calls for protests from the opposition coalition MUD, which had pegged its hopes for removing Maduro on the referendum.
But the move was immediately met with anger from pro-government supporters, who spontaneously began to gather at the entrance of parliament as news of the session spread. They labeled the opposition’s actions a thinly veiled attempt to stoke conditions for foreign intervention and impeach Maduro during his absence from the country.