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Venezuela arrests over ‘uprising attempt’

Military group in a video 6 AugustImage copyright Twitter
Image caption “This is not a coup but a military and civil action,” the group’s leader said

Arrests have been made in Venezuela after soldiers tried to launch an uprising against President Maduro, officials say.

The ruling Socialist Party’s deputy leader, Diosdado Cabello, called it a “terrorist attack” on Twitter.

It happened in Valencia in Carabobo state in the north-west of the country.

A video released on social media showed uniformed men saying they were rising against a “murderous tyranny”. Venezuela has seen months of protests.

“This is not a coup but a military and civil action to re-establish constitutional order,” said the leader, who gave his name as Juan Caguaripano.

Mr Cabello said full control had been restored at the Fuerte Paramacay military barracks.

A commanding chief of the armed forces, Remigio Ceballos, tweeted that seven people had been arrested.

Earlier, gunfire was reported on social media. Others said they heard the sound of loud patriotic singing at the military base.

In his short speech, Caguaripano said that his group – which he called the 41st Brigade – was standing against the “murderous tyranny of President Nicolás Maduro”.

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Media captionYour video guide to the crisis gripping Venezuela

He named young people who have died after attending anti-government protests: Neomar Lander, Geraldine Moreno, Juan Pablo Pernalete and “lots of others with their cardboard shields”.

Lander, 17, and Pernalete, 20, died earlier this year, while Moreno, 23, was shot in the face in a 2014 demonstration. Two members of the National Guard were later jailed for her death.

Regular protests have been held in the country since April. The opposition accuses left-wing President Maduro of trying to entrench his power.

On Saturday, the newly inaugurated Constituent Assembly held its first session. It immediately voted to dismiss Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega, a former ally of President Maduro turned major critic.


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Media caption“This is a dictatorship,” Luisa Ortega told reporters

Members of the assembly were elected after a controversial vote last Sunday, in which no opposition candidates participated and which has led to allegations of voting fraud.

The government has strongly denied the allegations. Mr Maduro repeatedly says he is trying to keep the peace.

The assembly has the power to rewrite the constitution and could override the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

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