Clashes have erupted in Caracas as thousands marched against the government’s decision to ban key political leader Henrique Capriles from office for 15 years.
He was considered the opposition’s best hope of defeating Socialist President Nicolas Maduro in elections scheduled for 2018.
Authorities though have now disqualified Capriles for what they call “administrative irregularities”.
Vowing to fight on, the Miranda state governor joined the rally in the Venezuelan capital.
“The ban (from holding public office) will never have an effect. It’s just a ploy to demoralise us, to take hope from the people. It’s to keep me from standing for the presidency. But this isn’t about candidacy. It’s about Venezuela. And we’re going to fight to change our country”, he said.
Demonstrations against Maduro’s leftist government have been ongoing for a week following a Supreme Court ruling to limit the powers of the national assembly. It was later overturned, but a crippling economic crisis and shortages of basic foods and medical supplies mean discontent has been building for months.