Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-U.S. federal agents arrest protesters occupying Venezuelan Embassy

Reuters | Updated: 17-05-2019 05:49 IST | Created: 17-05-2019 05:49 IST
UPDATE 1-U.S. federal agents arrest protesters occupying Venezuelan Embassy
U.S. law enforcement officers raided the Venezuelan Embassy on Thursday to oust a small group protesting U.S. policy toward the oil-rich country, paving the way for the diplomatic compound to be handed to the U.S. envoy of opposition leader Juan Guaido. Since mid-April, members of three activist groups have been occupying the embassy, a red brick building in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, where they say they are "invited guests" of the Venezuelan government.

The activists oppose U.S. intervention in Venezuela to oust President Nicolas Maduro in favor of Guaido, self-proclaimed interim president of the OPEC-member nation. "I am here standing before you announcing that we have recovered this building thanks to the Venezuelan diaspora," Carlos Vecchio, Guaido's representative in Washington, told a group of supporters outside the building late on Thursday.

Vecchio also thanked President Donald Trump's administration. The building was undergoing safety checks and would be open for business soon, he said. Authorities arrested the last four protesters on Thursday after utilities for the building were cut off and they ignored an eviction order, the groups say.

A spokesman for Pepco, Washington's energy utility, said the company does not discuss service to individual properties. The U.S. Secret Service confirmed officers had helped agents from the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service execute arrest warrants against people inside the embassy.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the government of Guaido, whom the United States recognizes as the leader of Venezuela, asked for U.S. assistance in removing the protesters from the embassy. "The Venezuelan government, led by Interim President Juan Guaido ... has asked the trespassers to depart the premises," the spokeswoman said.

Neither agency identified what charges the protesters faced. Tensions have escalated between the United States and Venezuela as Washington has ratcheted up pressure against the government of Maduro, which it says is illegitimate.

The United States has imposed sanctions against Venezuelan leaders, ordered the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from Venezuela in March and, on Wednesday, suspended passenger and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela. Maduro, who has branded Guaido a U.S. puppet seeking to oust him in a coup, broke off relations with Washington after it recognized Guaido and recalled diplomatic and consular staff.

Representatives of Guaido took control of three of the country's diplomatic properties in the United States in March. At its peak, about 50 people from three groups had occupied the Venezuelan Embassy, according to Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of Code Pink, one of the groups involved. (Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Susan Thomas and Cynthia Osterman)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Domestic seafood trade in focus as COVID-19 changes market dynamics

As predicted earlier in a report titled Seafood industry post-COVID 19 An overhaul to trigger the growth of small fisheries, one of the changes going ahead would be increased focus on domestic seafood trade, driven by falling exports and su...

Migration post-COVID 19: Taking cues from the past to rebuild economies

Migrants are an irreplaceable part of even the essential workforce of developed countries and are on the frontline in the fight against the crisis, making an immeasurable contribution to saving the lives of natives with voting rights....

Socialization Post-COVID-19: Local associations and online groups to play crucial role

Though every age group is suffering due to the global lockdown caused by the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges before adolescents are unique. Their social space has shrunk drastically, besides, they have become highly vulnerable to ...

Pharma post-COVID 19: Reducing political clout can alter business models

Powerful governments that have historically supported the pharma industry in enforcing global intellectual property rules are changing course and introducing legislation that can override normal patent rights during emergencies....

Videos

Latest News

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 289 to 178,570 -RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 289 to 178,570, data from the Robert Koch Institute RKI for infectious diseases showed on Monday.The reported death toll rose by 10 to 8,257, the data showed....

No home rule: Bayern out to show Dortmund who's boss

Bayern Munich aims to continue the Bundesligas current trend of teams winning on the road behind closed doors when they face Borussia Dortmund in a potential title decider on Tuesday. Leaders Bayern arrives at second-placed Dortmund four po...

HK security chief warns of growing 'terrorism' as govt backs Beijing's planned security laws

Hong Kongs security chief said terrorism was growing in the city, as government departments rallied on Monday behind Beijings plans to introduce national security laws and after thousands took to the streets to protest against the move.Poli...

Hong Kong stocks extend falls on Beijing's security law push

Hong Kong stocks dropped on Monday, extending losses from the previous session on Beijings plan to impose new national security legislation on the Asian financial hub and souring Sino-U.S. relations. At the midday break, the Shanghai Compos...

Give Feedback