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Venezuela confirms two more deaths during opposition protests

Venezuela confirms two more deaths during opposition protests”

Venezuela will hold on Sunday an election of the members of the National Constituent Assembly, a new 545-strong legislative body with the power to amend the constitution, despite the vote against the decision to hold such election in the opposition's so-called popular referendum on July 16, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

The Constituent Assembly would have the power to rewrite the Constitution and shut down the existing opposition-led legislature, which the opposition maintains would cement dictatorship in Venezuela.

However, electoral council chief Tibisay Lucena acknowledged that some voting machines had been attacked and burned in parts of the country.

On the eve of the vote, protesters blocked roads in the capital Caracas in defiance of a ban on demonstrations.

It has appealed for a boycott of the election, which surveys suggest is rejected by more than 70 per cent of Venezuelans.

The US, the European Union and Latin American powers, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, have come out against the election, saying it would destroy Venezuelan democracy.

Delta Airlines said it will suspend its once per week service between Atlanta and Caracas in mid-September.

The government says the constituent assembly is the only way to bring peace back to the country after months of violent protests.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday expressed confidence that Sunday's elections of the ANC will see the political opposition defeated at the polls.

"Starting on Monday we will have new actions, tactics and strategies to fit the new reality we will be living in", opposition congressman Freddy Guevara told reporters after urging protesters to man the barricades through today.

Colombia said it will not recognize the result of what it called Venezuela's "illegitimate" assembly vote.

As uncertainty mounts, businesses have curtailed operations, U.S. diplomats have sent their families home and several airlines have stopped flying to Venezuela.

At an overnight protest in Villa del Rosario, a Colombian town on the Venezuelan border, hundreds of Venezuelans taking shelter there decried the election.

"We're going to keep fighting", said opposition legislator Jorge Millan. "We're all extremely nervous". "Maduro. he should leave the country", said another, Sindry Borges. Two diplomats resigned last week in dissent: one at the United Nations and another at the embassy in Panama.

The Venezuelan leader has blamed the mounting unrest against him and his policies on the United States, working hand-in-hand with the Venezuelan opposition to wage an "economic war".



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