Venezuela bans protests on day two of nationwide strike

World Today

A pedestrian walks past a barricade set up by anti-government demonstrators on the second day of a 48-hour general strike in protest of government plans to rewrite the constitution, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, July 27, 2017. Venezuela is less than three days from a vote that would start the process of rewriting its constitution by electing members of a special assembly to reshape the charter. The opposition is boycotting the vote, saying election rules were rigged to guarantee President Nicolas Maduro a majority in the constitutional assembly. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

New deadly clashes in Venezuela, as the country enters day two of an anti-government strike.

With just days to go until a controversial election, President Nicolas Maduro is now calling for ‘dialogue’ with the opposition. He’s also banning any type of protests until the voting on Sunday.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Llamas reports from Caracas.

It’s day two of a 48-hour general strike in Venezuela. Streets across the country are barricaded and deserted, and businesses are shuttered as millions of people continue to observe the strike.

The protest was organized to put pressure on President Maduro to cancel a controversial vote for a new assembly that will have the power to rewrite the constitution.

“The president needs to understand that millions of Venezuelans like me are against the fraudulent constitution the government wants to implement,” protester Jose Lange said. “We’re also against the new socialist government they want to create. It will keep us in poverty.”

With just days to go until the scheduled election, the strike is the latest in a series of organized opposition protests.

“The world already realizes that this is a fraudulent process,” Maria Corina Machado, one of the protest organizers and president of Vente Venezuela said. “What the government wants is to establish a formal dictatorship in Venezuela.”

President Maduro still has millions of supporters in Venezuela. In the midst of the general strike, Maduro loyalists gathered in Caracas to show they stand behind the president.

“The constituent assembly is going to put a stop to the high cost of life, so that our money will be enough to live on,” Edson Carmona, a President Maduro supporter said.

As the two-day strike comes to a close, the opposition is planning what it says will be massive demonstrations on Friday. The opposition also plans to boycott the election itself. President Maduro, meanwhile, says nothing the opposition is planning will close the polls on Sunday.