The EU has condemned what it says is “the excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces” in Venezuela.
On Sunday (July 30), voters largely boycotted an election of a controversial new assembly, which will see the creation of a constituent assembly with the power to rewrite the constitution and override congress.
“Venezuela has democratically elected and legitimate institutions whose role is to work together and to find a negotiated solution to the current crisis,” a statement by the European Commission read. “A Constituent Assembly, elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances cannot be part of the solution.”
Venezuelan authorities said 10 people were killed in clashes between anti-Maduro protesters and law enforcement.
Presidential ‘power grab’
The country’s unpopular left-wing president Nicholas Maduro, who is seeking the new assembly, addressed a crowd.
“The Venezuelan people have shown that when fate challenges us, when the stateless oligarchy challenges us, when imperialism challenges us, it is when we make known the blood of the liberator that runs through the veins of men, women, children, youths,” Maduro said.
Venezuela’s opposition sees Sunday’s vote as a power grab by the president.
“We do not recognise this fraudulent process,” said opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
“For us it is null, it doesn’t exist and we are going to continue fighting until they [government] re-establish constitutional order and democracy.”
Antonio Tajani, the head of the European Parliament said it is clear that the Maduro regime is clinging to power and the will of the people is to change the regime. He said the European Parliament will not recognise this election
Sources in Brussels said the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, was preparing a joint statement on behalf of the bloc’s 28 member states, but said they did not think sanctions – which would require unanimity – were imminent.