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US police raid Venezuelan embassy to evict pro-Maduro activists defending it from ‘illegal seizure’

US police raid Venezuelan embassy to evict pro-Maduro activists defending it from ‘illegal seizure’
Pro-Maduro activists occupying the Venezuelan embassy in Washington have refused to vacate the premises in defiance of a notice threatening them with arrest and police entering the building but stopping short of evicting everyone.

“We are expecting the police to come in and violate the Vienna convention with their fictional government, nongovernment claiming that we should leave,” the Embassy Civilian Protection Collective said in a video message shortly before the police arrived at the doors of the diplomatic premises to the cheers of the pro-Guaido camp outside.

We’re going to be prepared to be arrested. We’re not going to leave voluntarily.

At least four embassy ‘protectors’ have remained inside the building and could be seen through the windows – even after police entered and left, apparently stopping short of forcefully evicting everyone - for now.

Despite their resolve to defend the diplomatic mission from “illegal seizure” by Guaido-appointed US representative Carlos Vecchio, many of the activists have left the embassy – apparently tired of the siege and worried about the threat of arrest – after a notice, which was not signed by any US government agency, urged them to “depart immediately” from the building in which they have lived for the last 34 days.

“The United States does not recognize the authority of the former Maduro regime or any of its former representatives to allow any individuals to lawfully enter, remain on this property, or take any action with respect to this property,” a notice taped to the door of the building earlier in the day read.

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Amid the standoff for control of the building, Venezuela’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America reminded Washington that an intrusion would be a breach of international law. “The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not authorized the entry of police officers into the former Embassy building in Washington, DC. This intrusion is yet another violation of international law by US authorities and aggression against Venezuela,” Carlos Ron said on Twitter.

The crisis surrounding the Venezuelan embassy in Washington began after US authorities forced diplomats loyal to President Maduro to leave the premises more than one month ago. Just before departing for Caracas, the diplomats appointed by Maduro allowed the peace activists to occupy the building.

A failed US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela inflamed the situation at the embassy, with the pro-Guaido camp blocking any attempts by activists to sneak supplies inside. Several people were arrested as they attempted to throw food and hygiene products through the open windows, while authorities cut the power and water supply to the diplomatic compound.

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