President Nicolas Maduro’s government says it is close to convening a special assembly endowed with powers to rewrite the constitution, override other branches of government and punish opposition leaders, Associated Press reports.
Two of his leading foes already were dragged from their homes by heavily armed security agents and thrown in a military prison Tuesday. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were accused by the government-allied Supreme Court of violating the terms of their house arrest by plotting to escape and releasing video statements criticizing Maduro.
Both men’s supporters denied the charges and vowed to continue to try to push the ruling party from power. However, they gave little indication of how they planned to do that, and the capital was unusually quiet after months of protests. Lopez’s supporters released a video that he taped last week saying he expected to be imprisoned again soon, and calling on Venezuelans to be firm in resisting Maduro.
Maduro appeared undeterred in his plans to seat a special assembly this week with powers to rewrite the constitution and override any other branch of the Venezuelan government. Maduro appeared to have the full support of the country’s most important institutions.