In Venezuela, residents in Caracas have blocked the streets with rubbish and concrete to protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s bid to rewrite the country’s constitution.
Amid an unprecedented economic, political and humanitarian crisis, Maduro decreed on Monday that a new document was needed to restore peace and stop the opposition carrying out a ‘‘coup d’etat.’‘
He said that the new constitution should be written by a citizens’ assembly.
One protesting Caracas resident said: “What Nicolas Maduro did yesterday was to further kick the Constitution. The aim is to convene, in a unilateral manner, a popular assembly with his supporters, marginalising more than 80 percent of Venezuelans. We are against this regime, which has brought on hunger, misery, corruption, narcotrafficking. All of Venezuelan knows it.”
Opponents say Maduro is seeking to neutralise Venezuela’s opposition-led national assembly. They also accuse him of trying to put off regional elections this year and a presidential poll in December 2018.
At a time of chronic shortages of basic foods and medicine and triple-digit inflation, polling suggests Maduro’s ruling socialists would lose both ballots badly.