Maduro Calls Latest Coup Attempt An "Armed Terrorist Attack"

Helicopter. File

Venezuela was on edge Tuesday night after a commandeered police helicopter reportedly dropped grenades on the Supreme Court building in Caracas in what some thought was the prelude to a coup attempt.

"Neither of these attacks will not hamper the work of the national Constitutional Assembly and the July 30 election process", Villegas said in a televised address.

The opposition blames Maduro for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food and medicine in the oil-rich country.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a gathering in support of him and his proposal for the National Constituent Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela June 27, 2017.

Venezuela's minister of foreign relations is denouncing the worldwide community for not condemning the actions of a helicopter pilot the government accuses of using gunfire and grenades to attack the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry.

It was not immediately clear whether there was any wider security-forces movement against Maduro's government.

Under former president and Maduro's mentor, Hugo Chavez, oil revenue fueled Venezuela's economy.

Maduro sounded alternately calm and angry as he told the audience about what had happened in the airspace just beyond the presidential palace where they were gathered.

It was unclear how a rogue police helicopter could have circled high-profile buildings in the Venezuelan capital without being shot down - eyewitnesses and local journalists say the assault went on for about two hours.


The helicopter had also flown over the interior ministry, Maduro said, adding: "I demand that the MUD [opposition coalition] condemns this eminently coup-mongering attack ..."

He appealed to Venezuelans to oppose the "criminal government".

Perez said the "fight" was not against the security forces but "against the impunity of this government".

Maikel Moreno, president of the Supreme Court, termed the incident as "an act of terrorism" and said that damages to the building were assessed.

According to Mr Maduro, the helicopter was piloted by a man who had been the driver of his ex-minister of the Interior and Justice, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, a retired general who has taken his distances with the government.

The opposition of the Venezuela has been slamming the Supreme Court for its rulings which strengthens Maduro's hold on power. He issued a firm statement to Washington last month, telling President Donald Trump to stop meddling in the country's affairs.

Elsewhere, nearly 70 stores looted and several government offices set alight in the city of Maracay, west of the capital. "We would never give up, and what couldn't be done with votes, we would do with weapons, we would liberate the fatherland with weapons". At one point, soldiers fought with some members of the assembly.

In the past 24 hours, authorities arrested more than 200 people in the city of Maracay west of Caracas after violent looting late Monday, and national guardsmen clashed with opposition lawmakers at the National Assembly on Tuesday. In a video circulating on social media, the commander of a national guard unit protecting the legislature aggressively shoved Borges as he's walking away from a heated discussion.

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