Venezuela careened towards a showdown on its streets Friday between anti-government protesters and security forces, raising international alarm at worsening deadly unrest and prompting the United States to order the families of embassy staff out.
The opposition called fresh nationwide demonstrations to defy a new government ban on rallies ahead of a controversial vote Sunday to elect a body to rewrite the constitution.
Four months of protests against unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro have already claimed 112 lives, according to prosecutors — seven of them during a two-day general strike that ended Thursday.
Tensions have been heightened by a decree from Maduro banning protests and warning that anyone who marches against the “Constituent Assembly” risks up to 10 years in prison.
The opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, shot back with a tweet saying “the regime declared we can’t demonstrate… We will respond with the TAKING OF VENEZUELA.”
It called mass protests for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.