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Guaido: Paramilitary takeover of parliament reveals Maduro's dictatorship

VENEZUELA CRISIS (ADDS VIDEO) | 15 de enero de 2020

Caracas, Jan 15 (efe-epa).- Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido called the actions under way on Wednesday outside the National Assembly (AN) building a "takeover" of the parliamentary seat undertaken by "paramilitaries," a situation he said "unveils ... (the) dictatorship" of President Nicolas Maduro.

"(In the government) they're using in a paramilitary way civilian groups armed by the dictatorship to violently attack the Federal Legislative Palace," Guaido told reporters before beginning a parliamentary session in an auditorium located in the El Hatillo district in eastern Caracas.

Dawn broke on Wednesday with the Legislative Palace surrounded by police and when a parliamentary committee headed for the AN to view the situation they were attacked by "collectives," the name by which often-armed civilian groups are known, groups who say they are defending the Bolivarian Revolution of the late Hugo Chavez and now Maduro and are considered to be paramilitaries by human rights organizations.

While the committee was trying to ascertain the situation near the AN, several Venezuelan and international journalists were also attacked by the collectives, just as occurred on Jan. 7, when Guaido and other opposition lawmakers forced their way past security forces and into the AN for a parliamentary session at which he was confirmed for a second term as National Assembly speaker and sworn in once again as Venezuela's interim head of state.

On Wednesday, however, given the impossibility of entering the legislative seat, the committee returned to the headquarters of Democratic Action, Venezuela's traditional social-democratic party, where Guaido made the decision to hold the parliamentary session in the auditorium there.

"The dictatorship was revealed," said Guaido regarding the situation, adding: "They want to continue exposing themselves in a brutal way as what they are: dictators."

In addition, he said that the armed forces were "accomplices (on Wednesday) of the collectives, the paramilitaries" in what he called an "ambush against legislators."

"We're going to insist on the proper use of the (legislative) palace, that it not be a military, arrogant type of neighborhood," said Guaido before adding that he - in his capacity as AN president - should not have to ask permission to make use of that venue.

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