Tuesday, 16 Jul 2019

35 days into protest, Washington activists refuse to leave Venezuelan embassy

WASHINGTON  — Activists who have held a protest inside the Venezuelan embassy for 35 days said Tuesday they plan to remain despite law enforcement warnings that they are trespassing on embassy property.

“We are not following the order. It is illegal,” activist Kevin Zeese told reporters from a window on the second floor of the building.

Zeese said there are a total of four protesters inside, but only two other people came to the window. He said they still have enough food and water to continue.

The activists have been living inside the embassy because they consider Nicolas Maduro the legitimate president of Venezuela. The U.S. and 50 other countries say Maduro’s re-election was fraudulent and have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.

Carlos Vecchio, the new ambassador to Washington designated by Guaidó, requested U.S. assistance in clearing the building.

The State Department said Tuesday that “until the trespassers are gone, no individuals will be permitted to enter the embassy.”

A crowd of Venezuelan expatriates who demand the eviction of the activists remains outside the building, along with a large police presence.

The protest started with at least 30 activists staying at the embassy, but their numbers have dwindled considerably. They have been without power since last week.

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