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Venezuela: Government Supporters Attack Opposition Lawmakers
Pro-government supporters storm the opposition-controlled legislature, injuring lawmakers, as Venezuela celebrates independence day.
Tensions were already high after Vice President Tareck El Aissami made an unannounced morning visit to the National Assembly, accompanied by top government and military officials, for an event celebrating independence day.
The short appearance at the congress by top officials who have repeatedly dismissed the legislators as a band of U.S.-backed conspirators was seen by many as a provocation.
El Aissami said global powers are once again trying to subjugate Venezuela. "We still haven't finished definitively breaking the chains of the empire," he said, adding that President Nicolas Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution — a move the opposition sees as a power-grab — offers Venezuela the best chance to be truly independent.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores raise their fists during the military parade.
Maduro condemned the violence, but complained that the opposition doesn't do enough to control "terrorist attacks" committed against security forces by anti-government protesters.
"I will never be an accomplice to acts of violence," said Maduro during a speech at a military parade.
The clash followed Tuesday's appearance of a 5-minute video posted by a former police inspector who allegedly stole a helicopter and fired on two government buildings last week.