Venezuela opposition lawmakers violently attacked by government-protected armed groups
Armed supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stormed the country's opposition-held legislature on Wednesday, attacking lawmakers and holding hundreds of people hostage inside the building for nine hours.
At least 15 people were injured, including five legislators and workers at the National Assembly.
National Assembly President Julio Borges blamed Maduro for the situation in Venezuela, where months of political and economic crisis have brought street protests that often turn violent as a result of repression by Maduro’s security forces. Nearly 100 people have been killed.
"The violence in Venezuela is named Nicolas Maduro," Borges told reporters, adding that they would not yield to any demands by the gunmen.
The Maduro supporters, who call themselves "colectivos," burst into the legislative chamber at the beginning of the takeover. Shots were fired and detonations were heard, and ambulances took away about 15 injured people, some of them lawmakers with blood streaming down their faces and soaking their shirts.
The armed gangs left the Legislative Palace later, but kept the building surrounded. National Guardsmen patrolled the area but made no move to remove the gunmen or free those being detained inside.
The National Assembly was meeting in a special session to honor Venezuela's Independence Day when the dozens of colectivos charged into the chamber.