7 Aug 2017

Arrests in Venezuela over uprising attempt

6:26 am on 7 August 2017

Soliders in Venezuela have been arrested after attempting to launch an uprising against President Nicolás Maduro, officials say.

Venezuela army officers posted a video saying they were rising against the tyranny of President  Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela army officers posted a video saying they were rising against the tyranny of President Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Screenshot / BBC

The ruling Socialist Party's deputy leader, Diosdado Cabello, called it a "terrorist attack" on Twitter.

It happened in Valencia in Carabobo state in the north-west of the country.

A video released on social media showed uniformed men saying they were rising against a "murderous tyranny". Venezuela has seen months of protests.

"This is not a coup but a military and civil action to re-establish constitutional order," said the leader, who gave his name as Juan Caguaripano.

Mr Cabello said full control had been restored at the Fuerte Paramacay military barracks.

A commanding chief of the armed forces, Remigio Ceballos, tweeted that seven people had been arrested.

Earlier, gunfire was reported on social media. Others said they heard the sound of loud patriotic singing at the military base.

In his short speech, Juan Caguaripano said that his group - which he called the 41st Brigade - was standing against the "murderous tyranny of President Nicolás Maduro".

He named young people who have died after attending anti-government protests: Neomar Lander, Geraldine Moreno, Juan Pablo Pernalete and "lots of others with their cardboard shields".

Mr Lander, 17, and Mr Pernalete, 20, died earlier this year, while Ms Moreno, 23, was shot in the face in a 2014 demonstration. Two members of the National Guard were later jailed for her death.

Regular protests have been held in the country since April. The opposition accuses left-wing Mr Maduro of trying to entrench his power.

On Saturday, the newly inaugurated Constituent Assembly held its first session. It immediately voted to dismiss Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega, a former ally of Mr Maduro turned major critic.

Members of the assembly were elected after a controversial vote last Sunday, in which no opposition candidates participated and which has led to allegations of voting fraud.

The government has strongly denied the allegations. Mr Maduro has repeatedly said he is trying to keep the peace.

The assembly has the power to rewrite the constitution and could override the opposition-controlled National Assembly.


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