Venezuela's Supreme Court Declares Opposition's Judges Invalid

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The strike was triggered by Mr Maduro's call for new elections. Maduro faces widespread foreign pressure to abort the constitutional assembly.

A few thousand protesters attempted to reach Venezuela's Supreme Court Saturday before clashing with national guardsmen and largely dispersing by late afternoon — a disappointing turnout for opponents of President Nicolas Maduro eight days before he launches the rewriting of the country's constitution.

Opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares says frustrated Venezuelans will remain in the streets.

Mexico remained ready to assist in diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the impasse in Venezuela, it added.

Paramedics attended Mr Arteaga in the street as blood poured down his face.

The fast-escalating political showdown comes after more than 100 people have died and thousands more been injured in anti-government unrest since demonstrations began in April.

Protesters accuse Mr Maduro of turning Venezuela into a dictatorship, but he is standing by his plans to rewrite the country's constitution.

Maduro calls himself a flag bearer for the global left, up against right-wing "terrorists" seeking a coup with the connivance of the U.S. and the worldwide media.

Opponents are boycotting the Constituent Assembly vote, which they see as a farce created to ensure a majority for a government with minority popular support, and demanding instead conventional free elections including for a new president.

Organizers had hoped that Saturday's demonstration would send a forceful message to Maduro to cancel a July 30 election for delegates to an assembly to overhaul the constitution.

Venezuelan authorities have routinely responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to almost four months of street protests.

At rival pro-government rallies on Saturday, candidates for the Constituent Assembly said it was the only way to bring peace to Venezuela.

Authorities have threatened to arrest all the opposition-named judges and try them in military courts.

"They are not going to frighten me".

Maduro also vowed that members of a new alternative Supreme Court panel appointed by the opposition in defiance of the government would be imprisoned: "They are all going to jail, one by one".

The government said it would to put 232,000 soldiers on the streets to ensure the vote goes ahead.

Worldwide pressure has been growing on Maduro to abandon next weekend's vote, including a threat from US President Donald Trump to apply economic sanctions.

The Socialist Workers Party urges working people across the United States and around the world to stand with their fellow toilers in Venezuela, speaking out against Washington's threats and attacks on Venezuelan sovereignty.

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