Venezuelan lawmakers clash with police

Venezuelan opposition lawmakers clashed with police Thursday at a protest demanding overdue regional elections be held, one ending up with a torn shirt and two others pushed to the ground.

The shoving match broke out when around a dozen National Assembly deputies shouting "Elections now!" tried to break through a line of armored police blocking the entrance to the National Electoral Council. The deputies wanted to hand over a petition demanding an immediate timeline for the gubernatorial and mayoral vote, originally due to be held last December, and postponed without giving a reason.

The lawmakers accuse the council of stalling elections in order to save leftist President Nicolas Maduro and his allies from a humiliating defeat.

"They would lose even a parish council election at this point. That's why they're blocking (elections) any way they can," said protest leader Jose Brito, the lawmaker who ended up with his blue shirt torn.

Recent polls indicate 80 percent of Venezuelans disapprove of Maduro.

The opposition won a landslide in legislative elections in December 2015.

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