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Venezuela: Opposition lawmakers seek refuge in embassies to avoid arrest

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Venezuela: Opposition lawmakers seek refuge in embassies to avoid arrest
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A Venezuelan opposition legislator has sought refuge in the Argentinian embassy in Caracas following the arrest of the National Assembly's vice president Edgar Zambrano.

An Argentine foreign ministry source told Reuters on Thursday that Richard Blanco of the Brave People's Alliance party was in the embassy as a guest.

Blanco was one of the ten opposition lawmakers who was stripped of parliamentary immunity by the Supreme Court this week. He appeared with opposition leader Juan Guaido in the rallies meant to stir a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro last month.

Zambrano was arrested on Wednesday by intelligence agents who towed away his car with him inside. A tweet on his verified account said "we were surprised by intelligence agents who towed away our vehicle when we refused to leave it in order to transfer us to the Helicoide (a Venezuelan prison). We, democrats, remain on our feet to fight."

The vice president was among the deputies who had their immunity stripped.

Another opposition figure, Marianella Magallanes, who had her immunity removed sought refuge in the Italian embassy.

Guaido's chief of staff, Roberto Marrero, was arrested in March.

The Lima group, a regional bloc made up of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Canada, condemned the move to strip away immunity and to arrest Zambrano.

Even though Maduro hasn't arrested Guaido yet because of the potential strong backlash, he has tried to isolate the opposition leader by incarcerating key allies.