Venezuela Supreme Court attacked from police helicopter: President Maduro alleges conspiracy to destabilise govt

Caracas: President Nicolas Maduro said a helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court in a confusing incident that he claimed was part of a conspiracy to destabilise his socialist government. An Associated Press reporter heard gunfire as a blue helicopter buzzed through downtown but was unable to confirm where the shots were being fired from.

 Venezuela Supreme Court attacked from police helicopter: President Maduro alleges conspiracy to destabilise govt

President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro. AP

The gunfire took place as Maduro was speaking live on state television to pro-government journalists gathered at the presidential palace. He said the chopper fired upon offices of the court and launched a grenade that didn't explode before buzzing over the interior ministry.

He said the nation's air defense was activated, thwarting what he called a "terrorist attack" and part of an ongoing coup attempt. "It could've caused a tragedy with several dozen dead and injured," said Maduro.

But many opponents on social media accused the president himself of trying to spread fear to help justify a crackdown against Venezuelan seeking to block his plans to rewrite the constitution.

Adding to the intrigue, pictures of a blue police helicopter carrying an anti-government banner appeared on social media around the same time as a video in which a pilot for the police squad, identified as Oscar Perez, called for a rebellion against the Maduro's "tyranny" as part of a coalition of members of the security forces.

"We have two choices: be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the people or begin today to free ourselves from this corrupt government," the man said while reading from a statement with four people dressed in military fatigues, ski masks and carrying what look like assault rifles standing behind him.

Updated Date: Jun 28, 2017 07:33:29 IST