Maduro, who accuses protesters of being terrorists trying to wage a US-backed coup attempt against his government, is pushing for a constituent assembly that would redraft the country’s constitution. Villegas added that one pilot had been identified and the men fired 15 gunshots and four dropped four grenades during the fly over near the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry. He said one of the grenades didn’t explode.
At the same time the helicopter flew over Caracas, the Supreme Court – stacked with Maduro appointees – issued a ruling that gives the public defender attributions now reserved only for the public prosecutor.
“If Venezuela were dragged into chaos and violence. we would fight”, Maduro bellowed in a speech to supporters.
“We would never surrender and what we could not achieve with votes we would do with arms, we would liberate our country with arms”.
Maduro’s comments were aimed partly at his political opponents, who have taken to the streets over the past three months to protest his leadership.
Large protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been regularly held in Caracas over the last three months, but significant protests have also occurred in provincial cities.
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 USA intervention in the country.
And over 70 people have been killed in protest-related violence. since April 1.
“You would have to build 20 walls in the sea, a wall from MS to Florida, from Florida to NY, it would be insane.” before reminding the U.S. leader that “you are responsible for restraining the madness of the Venezuelan right-wing”.
Tuesday morning, the Miami Herald reported many stores and government offices were burned after anti-government protests Monday and Tuesday in Maracay, west of the capital of Caracas.
They say Maduro, who became president in 2013 following the death of longtime leader Hugo Chavez, is a dictator, who has presided over a deep economic crisis.
On Tuesday, opposition lawmakers got into fisticuffs with national guardsmen as they tried to enter the National Assembly. Some 216 people were arrested.
Opposition to the July 30 vote has come not just from Venezuelan opposition parties, but also from the chief state prosecutor Luisa Ortega and one-time government heavyweights like former intelligence service boss Miguel Rodriguez. More recently, the chamber threw out challenges to Maduro’s much debated bid to rewrite the nation’s constitution.