Police fire tear gas, clash with Venezuelans protesting top court
According to Rapporteur Report From, DPA, Link, At least nine people were injured in clashes between police and demonstrators during a march in support of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the Caracas metropolitan district of Chacao said.
Among the injured was National Assembly speaker Henry Ramos Allup, who was pepper-sprayed by police along with other deputies as they marched to the Assembly for a session that was eventually postponed to Wednesday because of the violence, according to the body's President Julio Borges.
"This is how we were attacked on Avenida Libertador with pepper spray," Borges wrote in a Twitter post that included a photograph of a police officer holding a spray can through a line of riot shields.
Former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles posted a video to social media that appeared to show police in riot gear beating and kicking a woman in an alley between buildings.
"Attention followers around the world: A show of the repression that we endured today in defence of our constitution and against the coup d'etat," he wrote in a caption.
Officials loyal to President Nicolas Maduro blamed demonstrators for the violence and said police action had prevented what it also described as an attempted coup - by the opposiiton.
A separate demonstration in support of the government remained peaceful.
Authorities closed access roads and metro stations ahead of the protests, leading to long traffic backups outside the city, according to media reports.
The demonstrations came ahead of a parliamentary debate about sacking the seven Supreme Court justices responsible for last week's ruling stripping the legislature of its power, in what was widely seen as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro.
The March 30 ruling, which the opposition denounced as a coup, was later withdrawn amid condemnation by the international community and Maduro's own attorney general.
The clashes were the latest escalation in an ongoing political crisis in Venezuela.
The opposition coalition United Democracy Roundtable (MUD) won control of the legislature in December 2015 and since then has called for a referendum to remove Maduro and hold new elections.
Loyalist elections authorities and courts have stopped the referendum process, instead challenging the opposition's authority.