Venezuelan chief prosecutor’s office blocked by security forces

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CARACAS, Aug 5(AGENCIES): A day after the government inaugurated a new legislative body that the prosecutor said was fraudulently elected, Venezuelan security forces took up positions outside the office of the country’s chief prosecutor on Saturday,

Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega had asked a local court to halt the inauguration of the country’s new 545-member constituent assembly, citing allegations that the government fudged the results of the vote that created it.

The new legislative body has no checks on its powers.

It could re-write the constitution, re-arrange state institutions and allow socialist President Nicolas Maduro to rule by decree. Assembly members had said they would fire Ortega the first chance they got. It took less than 24 hours from the assembly’s inauguration for her offices to be cordoned off.

Ortega, in a tweet, asked the international community to denounce what she called “arbitrary action” of security forces blocking entrance to her offices.

Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States, said he was concerned that evidence against Maduro’s government was at risk of being compromised by the security forces surrounding Ortega’s office.

“Aggression against her is aggression against all of us,” Almagro tweeted, adding that the presence of the security forces “puts evidence of human rights violations and corruption on the part of the (Maduro) regime at risk.”

Since the opposition started a round of protests in April, Ortega has become the president’s main challenger from within the ruling socialist movement, accusing him of human rights abuses and of running roughshod over democracy.

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