Police with battering ram raid Venezuelan Embassy in DC & arrest anti-coup activists (VIDEOS)
In clear violation of international law, police broke into Venezuela’s embassy in Washington DC, arresting activists invited by staff. They prevented the building from being seized by US-backed coup leader Juan Guaido’s people.
After spending over a month camped out in the embassy, the final four activists of the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective have been placed under arrest after police broke down doors and entered the premises on Thursday.
An image presumably showing the moment of the arrest of the four activists of the #EmbassyProtectionCollective. In the photo that appears to be a screenshot of another image, you see David Paul, Adrienne Pine and Margaret Flowers.Photo via: .@AlinaTelesur#HandsOffVenezuelapic.twitter.com/F5TLiXhWxp— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 16, 2019
Photos of the raid show heavily armed police with battering rams, cutting tools and body armor surrounding the building.
Guy with enormous bolt-cutters just came out (not a euphemism) pic.twitter.com/ljRrorLUts— Michele Banks (@artologica) May 16, 2019
Shortly after the break-in, an ambulance arrived at the scene and a gurney was wheeled inside. It is still unclear who needed the help and why.
Gurney going into embassy pic.twitter.com/UE69Uy03Xz— Morgan Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) May 16, 2019
Venezuela had not authorized US authorities to enter the building, Vice-Minister for North American Relations, Carlos Ron, wrote on Twitter. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, embassies are considered sovereign territory of the government they represent, making the action a violation of international law.
Let it be clear. The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela does not authorize the entrance of any US law enforcement officers into our former Embassy building in Washington. Any such entrance is an unlawful breach of the Vienna Convention.— Carlos Ron (@CarlosJRonVE) May 16, 2019
Despite the failure of self-declared ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido to launch a coup last month, US authorities continue to recognize his government as the legal authority in Venezuela. A note on the building the day before the raid stated that the US doesn’t recognize the authority of President Nicolas Maduro’s staff, and urged the activists to “depart immediately.”
“We denounce the arrest of the #EmbassyProtectionCollective members who were staying in the Embassy with our permission,” say Dep. Foreign Minister Carlos Ron. “We do not authorize any of the coup representatives to enter the Embassy."— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) May 16, 2019
Conflict between the activists inside the office and supporters of Juan Guaido intensified after the coup effort fell flat. Crowds of people opposed to Maduro’s government have been gathering outside the premises attempting to blockade the people inside from receiving food and other vital resources. Police arrested several people for attempting to throw food and hygiene supplies in, while authorities cut off the power and water supply.
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