Venezuelan activist shot dead in protest against controversial elections

Jul 31, 2017, 00:27
Venezuelan activist shot dead in protest against controversial elections

Caracas, Jul 30 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro voted today in the election held today in Venezuela to select 537 members out of the 545 seats of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

"I don't know where their hate comes from. There was running everywhere and they fired at the buildings, fired at the people", one local, Conchita Ramirez, told the Vivo Play television network.

It says Pence also repeated Trump's pledge to respond quickly with further economic actions if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro goes through with elections Sunday to choose a national assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Prosecutors believe multiple assailants broke into 39-year-old lawyer Jose Felix Pineda's house and fired several shots at the candidate.

Ricardo Campos, who worked as a youth secretary with the opposition Accion Democratica party, was killed during the protest, the head of the national assembly said, according to the BBC. More than 110 people have been killed, many in clashes between the state and armed protesters.

In eastern Caracas, four soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive targeted their motorbike convoy.

The security forces have used armoured vehicles to dispel protesters in the Caracas district of El Paraíso amid the sound of gunfire, AFP says, citing local reports.

Troops also violently moved against protesters in the cities of Maracaibo, in the west, and Puerto Ordaz in the east.

Sunday's unrest highlighted the tensions over the vote called by beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro despite months of demonstrations and fierce global criticism.

But unlike Maduro, Chavez first won voter approval for the idea via a referendum.

He is attempting to bolster his power by creating a new assembly which will tear up the constitution and effectively create a one-party state.

Turnout will be key to determining the legitimacy of the election. The rule prohibits voters from voting a couple of times.

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

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

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

Families of United States diplomats have been ordered to leave following the imposition of American sanctions on 13 current and former Venezuelan officials.

More than 19 million Venezuelans were called to this democratic election.

"We're going to keep fighting", said opposition legislator Jorge Millan.

The Constituent Assembly would have the power to rewrite the Constitution and shut down the existing opposition-led legislature, which the opposition maintains would cement dictatorship in Venezuela. "But it's only aggravating them".

Neighboring Colombia - a refuge for tens of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the chaos at home - said on Friday it would not recognize the results of Sunday's election in Venezuela. The oil industry is anxious they could target Venezuela's crude exports, 40 percent of which are bought by the United States.

Some in Maduro's administration have broken ranks, most prominently his attorney general.

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