With Sunday’s controversial new constituent assembly elections looming, popular demonstrations across Venezuela have intensified, as clashes between protestors and police grow ever more bloody.
Despite President Nicolas Maduro’s assurances that anyone caught protesting would face time behind bars, opposition leaders urged Venezuelans to take to the streets, a call that thousands have evidently heeded.
The widespread anger is down to Maduro’s calling of an election for a new assembly that would have the power to rewrite the constitution and would rival the opposition led , something neighbouring Colombia – which has been burdened in recent months by an influx of thousands of Venezuelans – said it would not recognise.
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia said: “The Constitutional Assembly promoted by the Venezuelan government is illegitimate and that is why Colombia will not recognise the results.”
The run up to the election has not been the peaceful campaign Maduro would have hoped for.
It has instead been marred by violence and chaos.
In a sign that the president still holds a firm grip on the country, armed and hooded intelligence officers arrested Mayor Alfredo Ramos, a local politician who the Supreme Court say had facilitated protests against Maduro.