Venezuelan Parliament attacked by armed civilian groups; several legislators and reporters injured

Caracas: Armed civilian groups have attacked the Venezuelan Parliament building after a clash between lawmakers and the military police of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), opposition legislator Julio Borges has said.

The clash on Tuesday left at least two female members of parliament injured, Efe news quoted Borges as saying.

According to the National Assembly's Twitter account, opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano and several reporters were also injured. "Different lawmakers and Assembly personnel saw (GNB) officers entering (the building) with boxes from the National Election Council... and a clash occurred there between the GNB officers and the lawmakers," Borges said.

 Venezuelan Parliament attacked by armed civilian groups; several legislators and reporters injured

File image of Venezuelan opposition leader Julio Borges speaking in the National Assembly. Reuters

As a result, the parliamentary session was interrupted. Borges then proceeded to talk with the officer responsible for the institution's security in order to resolve the conflict.

However, immediately groups of civilians entered through the doors of the National Assembly building, he said. These people launched fireworks rockets and other materials inside the House, according to some videos published on social media. The civilian groups have attacked the front of the building and threatened to enter "by force", the opposition said.

Lawmakers and workers currently remain locked inside the Parliament, the Chamber's press chief Alicia de La Rosa told Efe.

Borges has blamed President Nicolas Maduro for the attack. He said: "Nicolas Maduro... said on Tuesday that if the ballots are no use, then the violence will be, that if the ballots are no use, then the bullets will be."

Borges, however, said that the attack would give "more strength" to parliamentarians to continue fighting for "a democratic and free country". Regarding the boxes from the National Election Council, he indicated that the lawmakers went to see what happened with them, since it was "irregular" to keep such contents in the Legislative building. However, the GNB forces did not allow the parliamentarians to have access to the boxes, Borges said, adding that the troops claimed that the boxes contain data on the validation of political parties.

Venezuela has been facing socio-political upheavals which have been exacerbated by waves of demonstrations, both against and in favour of the government, for three months. Some of these demonstrations have become violent, leaving so far at least 75 people dead and about 1,500 injured, according to data from Venezuela's Prosecutor General's Office.

Updated Date: Jun 28, 2017 09:29:29 IST