Protests in Venezuela as opposition party denounces socialist 'coup'

Yesterday I noted the decision by the Venezuelan Supreme Court to grant itself the powers of the country’s National Assembly. Today there were protests in the street opposing what many are calling a “coup” and the beginning of a true dictatorship. From Reuters:

Throughout Friday, pockets of protesters blocked roads, unfurled banners and chanted slogans against Maduro’s unpopular government.

In Caracas, several dozen students marched to the Supreme Court, but were pushed back by soldiers with riot shields.

Some protesters also briefly blocked highways in the capital, holding banners reading: “No To Dictatorship.”

Opposition leader Julio Borges tore up a copy of the court’s decision and called it “trash.” According to a report by Al Jazeera (see below) Borges said, “This is simply trash, trash from those who have kidnapped the constitution, kidnapped the rights and freedom of the Venezuelan people.” NY Times reporter Jim Roberts posted some images of the protests:

Meanwhile, the country’s Attorney General publicly broke with the ruling socialist party, which she has supported, to criticize the Supreme Court’s actions. More from Reuters:

Luisa Ortega, appointed attorney general in 2007 and a staunch ally of the Socialists who have ruled for the last 18 years, rebuked the Supreme Court’s controversial move to take over the opposition-led National Assembly’s functions.

“It constitutes a rupture of the constitutional order,” the 59-year-old said in a speech. “It’s my obligation to express my great concern to the country.”

This Al Jazeera report offers some video of the reaction to the court’s decision: