Guaido's deputy detained by Venezuelan authorities

Last Updated: Thu, May 09, 2019 15:47 hrs

[Venezuela], May 9 (ANI): Venezuelan National Assembly's Vice President Edgar Zambrano was detained by intelligence officials outside the Democratic Action Party's headquarters on Wednesday evening.

This comes after the parliamentary immunity of seven opposition leaders was removed in the wake of the failed coup which took place on April 30. The leaders include Luis Florido, Henry Ramos Allup, Richard Blanco, Marianela Lopez, Simon Calzadilla and Americo de Grazia, along with Zambrano, according to Sputnik.

Zambrano is one of Juan Guaido's closest aides. Reacting to the news, Guaido tweeted in Spanish: "Our @AsambleaVE is the only elected power in Venezuela. With these actions, the usurpation aims to affect the only democratic institution legitimized by the popular vote. And Comrade Zambrano has a sacred element that the usurper does not know: the support of the People."

"I warn whoever ordered this action that he will have to assume the consequences of crimes that do not prescribe. There is time to stop these actions and assume the irreversibility of the change that the country is experiencing," he added.

Guaido previously told CNN during an interview that the Venezuelan authorities under President Nicolas Maduro were scared of the consequences of arresting him, because of which he remains a free man despite proclaiming himself as the President of the nation and launching the latest failed coup attempt to topple Maduro.

"We alert all the people of Venezuela at this time 6:35 pm we are surrounded by the SEBIN, we are inside our vehicle from the facilities of Accion Democratica in Florida," Zambrano tweeted as security forces with the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) detained him.

"We were surprised by the SEBIN when refusing to leave our vehicle, they used a crane to move us forcibly to the Helicoid. The Democrats keep up the fight," was his last tweet before the car he was sitting in was towed away by the SEBIN officials.

This comes amidst mounting civil and political unrest in the Latin American country. On April 30, opposition leader Guaido declared he was "beginning the final phase of Operation Freedom," apparently to oust Maduro. At least 71 people were injured in the clashes that ensued between anti-government protesters and law enforcement forces in Caracas.

The opposition leader declared himself as the President of Venezuela during protests in January -- a move which was immediately backed by the United States. Guaido currently enjoys recognition as the official interim President of Venezuela by over 50 countries, including France, Japan, UK, USA amongst others.

Even though there have been recurring calls for Maduro to resign -- after calls to hold fresh elections failed -- the leftist leader continues to hold on to his post, claiming that he enjoys the steadfast support of the Venezuelan armed forces. (ANI)