Published: Mon, July 31, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Venezuelan election going ahead despite continued protests

Venezuelan election going ahead despite continued protests

Lucena said the election process for the National Constituent Assembly is audited by local and global entities, and that her organization will ensure and protect the Venezuelan people's right to vote, despite recent threats by the opposition to stage violent protests and prevent the election.

Critics say the assembly will allow Mr Maduro to dissolve the opposition-run Congress, delay future elections and rewrite electoral rules to prevent the socialists from being voted out of power in the once-prosperous South American nation.

Protests have erupted across the country as the opposition decries the contest as a "power grab" by Maduro. Ricardo Campos, a youth secretary with the opposition Accion Democratica party, was shot and killed during a protest, the head of the national assembly said.

The bodies of two men shot dead, aged 28 and 39, were found after a protest Sunday in the western state of Merida, where a 38-year-old man was killed on Saturday in another demonstration.

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

In the west of Caracas, national guard troops fanning out to put down any disruption to the election used armoured vehicles and fired shots to disperse protesters blocking roads.

Elsewhere, streets in Venezuela have been largely deserted with just a trickle of people heading to vote in the widely criticised elections.

"This is for elections, for the freeing of political prisoners, for change", said Opposition Congressman Freddy Guevera.

Nearly 20 million Venezuelans are registered to vote for 545 members of the National Constituent Assembly.

Man kills one and injures six in knife attack in Germany
Der Tagesspiegel, a daily based in Berlin , said the suspect was of Palestinian ethnicity and had come to Germany seeking asylum. The attack happened in the Barmbek region in the north of the city in a branch of Edeka , Germany's largest supermarket chain.

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.

On Wednesday, the United State imposed new sanctions on 13 current and former senior officials of Maduro's government.

'According to the Constitution of the Republic, the call for the original power through the National Constituent Assembly is a political and human right, ' he reiterated.

Air France and Iberia both announced they were suspending their flights to the country during the weekend vote.

He said he wants the assembly to strip opposition legislators of their constitutional immunity from prosecution and indicated he is eager to prosecute many more members of the opposition parties that control a handful of state governments along with the National Assembly, providing one of the few remaining checks on the power of the socialist party that has ruled this OPEC nation for almost two decades.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans from across the country lined up long before dawn to cast their ballots on Sunday for the National Constituent Assembly.

The US has suggested further sanctions could follow.

The opposition, other Latin American nations, the U.S. and the European Union see the new body as a tool to crush democracy in the oil-rich country, where the opposition controls the National Assembly.

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

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