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Venezuela's opposition censures judges and called for another protest

Venezuela's opposition censures judges and called for another protestVenezuela's opposition lawmakers, some carrying injuries from this week's protests, sought the dismissal of Supreme Court judges whom they accuse of propping up a socialist dictatorship, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Newly militant opposition leaders also announced another round of demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro for Thursday, despite chaos and violence in Caracas on Tuesday that left 20 injured and 18 arrested.

The opposition, which won control of the National Assembly in late 2015, accuses Maduro of wrecking the South American nation's economy and squashing democracy.

Maduro says his foes are seeking a coup with the help of Washington and compliant foreign media.

The opposition's main demand now is to bring forward the next presidential election scheduled for the end of 2018.

Having been impeded from reaching the National Assembly on Tuesday, lawmakers headed to the building in downtown Caracas from dawn on Wednesday.

The Caracas-based Penal Forum rights group said 18 people were still behind bars on Wednesday after detentions around the country, but mostly in Caracas. At least 20 people were injured on Tuesday, its head, Alfredo Romero, told Reuters.

The head of the hemispheric Organization of American States and global rights group Amnesty International both condemned Venezuela for excessive repression.

But Interior Minister Nestor Reverol denied that, calling instead for one opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, to be prosecuted for blocking streets, including impeding an ambulance.

The oil-producing nation's political standoff took a new twist last week when the Supreme Court ruled that it was taking over the legislature's functions.

That touched off an international outcry, and the tribunal quickly scrubbed the offending clauses.

But dozens of previous rulings overturning National Assembly measures have left it powerless anyway, and opposition leaders say recent events have shown the world Maduro's autocratic face.

Lawmakers passed one motion on Wednesday denouncing the "rupture" of Venezuela's constitution and another asking for the removal of Supreme Court judges.

But that would be merely symbolic since congress requires the support of other institutions, which are behind Maduro, to dismiss the judges.
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