CARACAS, Venezuela, Thursday July 6, 2017 – Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has ordered an investigation into a violent attack on the country’s National Assembly yesterday, as the country observed its 206th anniversary of Independence.
Armed with pipes, sticks and stones, pro-government demonstrators stormed the Opposition-controlled body and clashed with lawmakers.
At least 12 people are injured after pro-Maduro activists stormed Venezuela’s National Assembly pic.twitter.com/npQTn9018D
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 6, 2017
International media reported that seven legislators and five lawmakers were injured. Some journalists also claimed they were assaulted.
President Maduro moved quickly to dispel any notion that he condoned the attack.
“I will never be complicit to any act of violence,” he said. “I want peace for Venezuela. I do not accept violence from anyone.”
The attack came as tensions mount ahead of a July 30 vote to authorize a new constitutional convention.
Yesterday, the US State Department issued a statement calling the clash “an assault on the democratic principles cherished by the men and women who struggled for Venezuela’s independence 206 years ago today”.
It called on the Venezuelan government “to immediately provide for the protection of the National Assembly, to ensure those injured in [the] attack are able to receive medical attention, and bring the attackers to justice.”
In almost daily marches for more than three months now, Venezuelans have taken to the street to protest against the Government and shortages of critical items including food and medicine.
Some 85 people have died since the unrest started.