In a chaotic event, the PSUV deputies at that National Assembly elected deputy Luis Parra as the new president of the legislature while many opposition deputies attempted to fight their way into the building.

Parra’s election took place in a raucous session without a formal vote, as several opposition deputies–including Juan Guaido himself–were prevented from entering the building by a heavy military and police presence outside of the legislature.

Independent media outlets, too, were prevented from entering the National Assembly, which set off confusion as news of Parra’s lightning election began to trickle out. In total, approximately 35 media outlets that had the proper credentials to report from the session were prevented from doing so by regime authorities.

In the moments during Parra’s election, Guaido and other opposition deputies were outside the National Assembly trying to enter the building. In the video below, Guaido (in the blue suit) and other deputies try to push their way through a line of National Guard soldiers:

Guaido also tried to scale the fence of the National Assembly to try to gain access to the building:

When their efforts failed, Guaido and the other deputies who were prevented from entering the building left to the offices of El Nacional, an independent newspaper, where they announced that they would hold a session at approximately 5:00 PM Caracas time.

Opposition Holds Session in Newspaper Offices, Re-Elects Guaido as President

Following the developments at the National Assembly, Guaido announced that he would head to the offices of El Nacional, a national newspaper, and give a press conference there.

Once at the offices of El Nacional, Guaido announced that the legislature would hold its session there. The session began at approximately 5:10 PM. Deputy Delsa Solorzano nominated Juan Guaido as president of the legislature for the 2020 term.

Following a vote, Guaido won re-election unanimously, with all 100 deputies present at the session voting for him. Guaido needed 83 votes to win re-election.

Regime Restricts Internet, Physical Access to Legislature

Whether the session would take place at all was in doubt starting in the early morning hours as the Maduro regime limited internet access in the country and set up barricades in the vicinity of the National Assembly to prevent legislators and journalists from entering the building.

The video below shows a line of National Bolivarian Police and National Guard soldiers preventing deputies and journalists from advancing towards the legislature:

At least one opposition deputy–Angelo Palmeri–was arrested outside of the National Assembly, although it is not clear why:

The situation grew tense at times, as the crowd of deputies, journalists and onlookers attempted to break through the line:

In the video below, opposition deputy Freddy Valera is allowed to pass the checkpoint:

Even Guaido was initially prevented from entering the premises. In the video below, Guaido tries to reason with the National Bolivarian Police officers who are blocking his way:

Guaido commented on the heavy police and military presence at the event, saying:

If there was any doubt about Venezuelan being a dictatorship: soldiers are preventing deputies from doing their duty to defend Venezuelans, the same people that they swore to protect.

This is what we’re fighting against, and together we will win.

Journalists were also prevented from entering the National Assembly. In the clip below, a group of journalists stands in front of the officers who are preventing their entry:

The Maduro regime also cut off internet access to the National Assembly building starting in the  early morning hours. The measure would have had the effect of limiting reporting from the building when the vote took place, as well as limiting the ability of deputies in exile to cast their votes electronically.

The regime also cut off access to several social media platforms, as it tends to do on days when the opposition carries out a public event, in order to restrict people’s ability to follow events live:

Parra Named in Corruption Scandal, Kicked Out of Opposition Party

Parra’s was a relatively low-profile deputy for Yaracuy state with the Primero Justicia (PJ) opposition party until late November, when he was named in a corruption scandal.

According to the investigative news outlet Armando.info, Parra was part of a group of opposition deputies who received bribes from individuals with links to the Maduro regime so that they could lobby on their behalf abroad. The investigation alleged that Parra lobbied on behalf of a businessman called Carlos Lizcano Manrique.

Following the publication of the investigation, PJ kicked Parra out of the party.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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