The arrests took place just hours after hugely controversial elections which could pave the way for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to assume a raft of new powers. "The violent fascists, those who wage economic war on the people, those who wage psychological war, justice is coming for you". "Tomorrow we start to act".
In a sign of its apparent demoralized state only a few hundred demonstrators showed up for Friday's protest against the constitutional assembly, one of the smallest turnouts in months.
The Chilean foreign minister said that a judge from Venezuela's alternative top court took shelter on Thursday at the Chilean Embassy in Caracas, which already hosts four his colleagues and an opposition leader.
Rodriguez said there could be strong pressure on the owners of Smartmatic by global powers, which have political and business interests in Venezuela. "I have nothing to fear", Maduro said, adding that the sanctions serve to highlight the impotence, desperation and hatred felt in Washington.
In the statement released by the Vatican's press office on Friday soon after noon Rome time, the Holy See also expressed its "profound concern" over the radicalization of the country's crisis.
Venezuela has been racked by crisis for several months, with Maduro's regime placing opposition figureheads such as Ledezma under house arrest as protests rage across the country.
Large fire reported at Dubai's Torch Tower
A resident who lives in the building told ABC News that it appears that the fire broke out around the 65th floor and spread down. Smoke and fire rise from a high rise building at Marina district in Dubai , United Arab Emirates, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017.
The Information Ministry referred Reuters to statements National Elections Council chief Tibisay Lucena made in response to Smartmatic's accusations on Wednesday, prior to the prosecutor's announcement.
The United States will not recognize the National Constituent Assembly, State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Thursday, adding that the election lacked credible global observation. In the case of Venezuela, the bishops have been openly against the assembly.
Ortega Diaz filed a complaint Thursday seeking a court order to block installation of the new assembly. The request, filed to a lower court in an apparent attempt to circumvent the government-stacked Supreme Court, was nearly certain to be denied.
The head of British firm Smartmatic, Antonio Mugica, said in London Wednesday there is no question in his mind that the total reported vote was false.
The count was crucial for socialist Maduro to legitimize the new, Socialist Party-dominated "constituent assembly", set for inauguration on Friday. The company that provides the country's voting machines said the government's claim that 8.1 million votes were cast in the poll overestimated the tally by least 1 million.
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