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Clashes as new Venezuela assembly is inaugurated


Venezuela

Clashes as new Venezuela assembly is inaugurated

Clashes broke out between opposition supporters and security forces in Caracas on Friday after Venezuela’s government inaugurated a new legislative superbody.

Police used tear gas against those trying to reach parliament. Reports say several people were injured as security forces tried to disperse the crowds.

The controversial new assembly opened under tight security, despite fierce opposition at home and abroad.

It unanimously elected well-known allies of President Nicolas Maduro to its leadership. Maduro says the all-powerful body is needed to restore peace.

Governments ranging from Latin American neighbours to the United States and European Union have condemned the assembly, with the Vatican making a last minute plea for authorities to suspend it.

The new body is tasked with rewriting the 1999 constitution brought in under Maduro’s late mentor and predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

It will function in the same downtown Caracas palace complex as the existing opposition-run congress, which could potentially be dissolved by the new assembly.

The two bodies are expected to hold sessions in parallel, separated by an ornate cobblestone courtyard.

Our correspondent Eduardo Salazar Uribe in Caracas says that the assembly is scheduled to meet on Saturday.

The state is expected to be restructured, and, as well as a new constitution, there will be reform of the judiciary, deepening the Socialist model.