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Protests that could “affect” the controversial Constituent Assembly vote this weekend will be banned, the Venezuelan government announced Thursday.
Axar.az reports that Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said at a news conference in Caracas.“National meetings and demonstrations, concentrations of people and any similar acts that may disturb or affect the normal development of the electoral process are prohibited throughout the country."
Reverol said the measure would be applied from midnight Friday until Tuesday, Aug. 1.
Violators will be "punished with imprisonment for 5 to 10 years," Reverol warned.
The protest ban was issued on the second of a two-day national strike organized by the opposition in an attempt to thwart President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to elect a Constituent Assembly that would have the power to rewrite the Constitution.
Opposition parties have said the vote on the Constituent Assembly is a “fraud” to establish a “dictatorship” and planned massive marches in Caracas for Friday.
One congressman and opposition leader said the protest ban would not prevent Venezuelans from occupying the streets this weekend.
“The dictatorship says we can’t protest from tomorrow. So? Tomorrow we will no longer take the streets in Caracas but in all Venezuela!”, Guevara wrote on Twitter, just minutes after Reverol’s speech.
Venezuela has grappled with deadly political and economic crises as low crude oil prices have forced the government to cut back or eliminate its socialist programs.
The crises have fueled public anger and fed massive protests that have left at least 100 dead since April.
2017.07.27 / 23:45