The National Assembly was the scene of a chaotic struggle for control today as the government-backed faction of legislators, headed by Luis Parra, squared off against the opposition faction headed by Juan Guaido.
Guaido had defiantly announced over the weekend that he would lead the parliamentary session scheduled for today, even after Parra claimed the presidency of the legislature in a move that was condemned both nationally and internationally as a naked attempt by the Maduro regime to take over the last democratic institution in the country.
As was the case on January 5, Parra and the PSUV deputies were allowed to enter the National Assembly unhindered, where they held a short session. The legislative chamber was mostly empty, as opposition deputies were once against prevented from entering the building by National Guard soldiers stationed outside.
Below, a video of the mostly empty legislative chamber during Parra’s session:
Deputy Maria Beatriz Martinez managed to get the attendance sheet for Parra’s session, and told reporters on the National Assembly grounds that some of the people on the list were not even legislators and thus had no business participating in the session.
Meanwhile, outside, opposition deputies led by Guaido and backed by civilian supporters attempted to force their way through the lines of National Guard soldiers who were preventing their entry into the building.
In the video below, Guaido tries to climb over a group of National Guard soldiers who are blocking his way;
The video below shows a phalanx of National Guard soldiers preparing to meet the opposition deputies and press workers who wanted to enter the building:
Guaido and the opposition deputies were backed by a large crowd of sympathizers who had turned up at the legislature to show their support:
After Parra’s session came to an end, the PSUV deputies left the National Assembly. At that moment, Guaido and his group of opposition legislators managed to enter the building. The images below captured that moment.
Footage showing the moment that the opposition deputies and press workers were able to enter the building:
Images of that same moment:
A journalist named Ana Vanessa Herrero was inside the National Assembly and captured the moment that the doors opened for Guaido’s group.
Once inside, the opposition deputies took the podium and began to sing the national anthem:
After Guaido and at least some of the the approximately 100 deputies who accompanied him held the session, they traveled to El Hatillo, where they held a town-hall style meeting:
During that meeting, Guaido called on Venezuelans protest against the Maduro regime’s blatant assault on the National Assembly this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Let’s mobilize on the streets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We’re taking the streets, and on Tuesday, we’re all going to the National Assembly together.
This latest chapter in the Venezuelan saga has little precedent in a country that has been no stranger to institutional collapse in recent years. With its actions, the Maduro government is enforcing the fracture of the National Assembly into two factions that, so far, appear to have locked horns with few prospects for resolution.
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