Police officer killed during anti-Maduro protests in Venezuela
August 23 2017, 11:15 | Irvin Gilbert
UN appeals for calm in Venezuela ahead of controversial vote
It called mass protests for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dozens of people were arrested, Reuters reported. Nestor Reverol, the interior and justice minister, warned that violators face prison sentences of five to 10 years if they violate the ban.
Alessandra Polga, director of the Canadian Venezuelan Engagement Foundation in Toronto, said Canada must join the U.S.in sanctioning Venezuelan officials.
More than 100 people have died since April in street protests across Venezuela, which began after Mr. But as many as half of all Venezuelans support neither the government nor the opposition - a phenomenon evident in the glum paralysis that has gripped much of the country as protesters and police wage nightly battles.
TRT World's Juan Carlos Lamas has more from Caracas. In one instance, about 120 people gathered at and near an intersection in the Altamira neighborhood.
Protesters wearing masks blocked the intersection, in part by laying down bricks, wire, tires and other debris on the street. Maduro's showing no sign of backing down, nor are his opponents.
At one protest site, paramedic Johann Paredes, 27, helped both injured protesters and national guard troops Friday.
"I believe that after the election Sunday, which is to replicate the Cuban model, shortly afterwards the National Assembly, where we have two-thirds of the votes, we'll be eliminated". The crisis has forced thousands of citizens to flee during in recent months.
The opposition and U.S. moves are to force Maduro to give up his plan to have a 545-member "Constituent Assembly" elected on Sunday. "But so far turnout has been pretty disappointing for opposition leaders".
The Sunday vote pushed for by President Nicolas Maduro has escalated the deadly showdown between the government and opposition supporters who have dismissed the poll as illegitimate.
Maduro, who has said that rewriting the constitution is needed to restore order, told a rally for his supporters Thursday in Caracas that he has proposed talks with the opposition. The assembly could give Maduro new powers and dissolve state institutions. The new constituent assembly، comprising 545 members، will rival the National Assembly، now controlled by the opposition.
By most accounts, Sunday's vote is illegal. He didn't say whether the US would sanction Venezuelan oil imports, a measure with the potential to undermine Maduro but cause an even deeper humanitarian crisis here.
Yet Maduro has remained determined to see through his plan, with backing from a loyal military.
The referendum asked voters three yes-no questions.
But some 70% of Venezuelans are opposed to the Constituent Assembly, according to polling firm Datanalisis. "What you have in Venezuela is a regime that continues, every day, to become more violent, more aggressive, more anti-Democratic".
Ottawa is still reviewing the United States' decision to sanction 13 current and former Venezuelan government officials on Wednesday.
"It's the legislature positioned against the executive and the judiciary, which is creating chaos in the state apparatus itself and a lasting deadlock that has been going on for well over a year now", Ciccariello-Maher said.
Meanwhile, Colombia said on Friday it will grant temporary legal status to more than 150,000 Venezuelans who entered the country legally and overstayed their visas, due to the deteriorating political and economic crisis in their home country.
The assembly has a "fake origin and therefore, the results will not be recognized", Santos said in Barranquilla.
The hardening political struggle has deepened fears that months of street violence could worsen. The upheaval was motivated by the Venezuelan Supreme Court's dissolution of parliament in late March and the transfer of legislative powers to the court. Maduro have already claimed 113 lives, according to prosecutors - eight of them during a two-day general strike that ended on Thursday. How the government determined who qualifies in each category has not been disclosed, but all of those sectors traditionally have strong ties to Chavez and Maduro's leftist political movement. The next presidential election is now set for next year, but the constituent assembly could change that and further anger the opposition.