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Maduro says helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court

28 June, 2017, 08:47 | Author: Mae Harvey
  • Heroes or agitators? Young lawmakers on Venezuela's front line

"What we really want as a political party is that Venezuelans have the option to express through voting, not through violence".

The aircraft fired 15 shots at the Interior Ministry, where scores of people were at a social event, and dropped four grenades on the court, where judges were meeting, officials said. Venezuela has been rocked by violent anti-government protests in recent months that have left scores dead.

- War of words -Addressing a crowd over the weekend, Maduro had said detainees would face military trial over an alleged coup plot, backed by Venezuelan opposition leaders and aimed at precipitating a U.S. intervention in the country.

"It could've caused a tragedy with several dozen dead and injured", he said, calling it a "terrorist attack".

President Nicolas Maduro said the June 27 attack was terrorism, and took place while he was speaking on live TV.

While discussing his proposed constitutional reforms, which appear to be created to strengthen his grip on power, Maduro said: "If we can't do it with votes, then we will do it with weapons".

"I have activated the entire armed forces to defend the peace", he said in remarks delivered from the Miraflores presidential palace.

The latest standoff on Tuesday saw clashes had take place inside and outside the national assembly building in Caracas, a few hundred meters from the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, Maduro said the "destruction" of Venezuela would unleash a refugee wave dwarfing the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

Maduro, who replaced Hugo Chavez in 2013, is pushing a July 30 vote for a special super-body called a Constituent Assembly, which could rewrite the national charter and supersede other institutions such as the opposition-controlled congress.

"You would have to build 20 walls in the sea, a wall from MS to Florida, from Florida to NY, it would be insane ..."

Though Almagro dismissed that notion, the OAS General Assembly was unable to reach agreement on a plan to deal with the instability in Venezuela at a meeting in Cancun last week. "You have the responsibility: stop the madness of the violent Venezuelan right wing".

"This is a country without government, this is chaos", he told a news conference on Tuesday.

Through the open door an occupant held a banner displaying "Article 350" - referring to an article in the Venezuelan constitution that allows citizens to oppose the government should it subvert democratic principles.

The president said the pilot who hijacked the helicopter was linked to former interior minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who Maduro said was part of a CIA-backed plot to overthrow him.

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