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szdaily -> World
Venezuelan police arrest 2 opposition leaders
    2017-August-3  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

VENEZUELAN authorities arrested two key opposition leaders at their Caracas homes Tuesday, making good on a threat by President Nicolas Maduro to crack down on his critics following an election last weekend that has been widely condemned as a prelude to dictatorship.

Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the Popular Will opposition party, was taken to the Ramo Verde military prison, his lawyer said in a radio interview.

“Maduro is responsible if anything happens,” Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, said over social media.

Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of metropolitan Caracas, was also taken into custody. He had appeared in a video Monday criticizing the election: “It’s important that we say that Venezuela will not give up.”

The vote Sunday — to elect a Maduro-friendly assembly charged with drafting a new constitution — was denounced by the U.S. and other nations as the most significant step yet toward the end of Venezuelan democracy.

Much of Caracas on Tuesday had the tense air of incipient civil war. Protesters dressed in helmets, gas masks and carrying full body shields have sealed off many neighborhood streets with barricades made of trash, bricks and abandoned vehicles. The ongoing battles with police and national guard members have forced motorists to create new traffic patterns to avoid violent flashpoints.

Lines at supermarkets were longer than usual as shoppers stocked up on rationed food items and household goods to hedge against social and commercial paralysis that escalated conflict could bring.

All the candidates for the constitutional assembly were Maduro loyalists.

Any new constitution is expected to increase the power of the president and diminish that of the National Assembly — where the opposition currently has a majority — and possibly replace it with the delegates of the new body.

(SD-Agencies)

 

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