Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Police helicopter attacks Venezuela Supreme Court

Police helicopter attacks Venezuela Supreme Court

A police helicopter dropped grenades on the Venezuelan Supreme Court in a daring attack escalating the months-long crisis engulfing the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

Shortly after the attack, a police pilot identifying himself as Oscar Perez posted a video on Instagram and claimed responsibility for the attack and criticized the Venezuelan government, calling it corrupt.

The helicopter assault comes a day after Maduro announced the arrests of five opponents he accused of plotting against him to clear the way for a U.S. invasion.

Maduro's government says the pilot fired 15 shots at the Interior Ministry and four grenades at the Supreme Court in what they characterize as a "terrorist attack".

Speaking on state television, President Nicolas Maduro said a grenade had also been thrown which did not explode. "And what we couldn't accomplish through votes we will with weapons", he said in remarks that are likely to further inflame passions.

Maduro has been facing three months of opposition protests and some dissent from within government ranks.

However, there was also some speculation among opposition supporters on social media that the attack could have been staged to justify repression or cover up drama at Venezuela's National Assembly, where two dozen lawmakers said they were being besieged by pro-government gangs.

"Listen, President Donald Trump", he said earlier on Tuesday.

"It could've caused a tragedy with several dozen dead and injured", Mr Maduro said.

More than 70 people have been killed in protest-related violence since 1 April, according to figures released by the chief prosecutor's office.

"It is the clearest acknowledgment that Venezuela lives a dictatorship that intends to impose itself - against the democratic spirit - through a constituent assembly that will only deepen the social, political and humanitarian crisis that affects the country".

It is still unclear as to how a rogue police helicopter could have circled high-profile buildings in the Venezuelan capital without being shot down. If Venezuela was to be plunged in chaos and violence and the Bolivarian revolution to be destroyed, we would march into combat.

Opposition leaders called Maduro's words an attempt to divert attention from people's power grab.

Venezuela will hold voting on July 30 to elect the Constitutional Assembly, set to rewrite the constitution as a way out of the political turmoil, which started in January 2016, when a new legislature was elected and relations between Maduro and the parliament became strained.

In late March, the government-stacked Supreme Court issued a ruling stripping the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its last powers.

"You would have to build 20 walls in the sea, a wall from MS to Florida, from Florida to NY, it would be insane".

"I'm not at all convinced by the helicopter incident", Rodriguez told Reuters on Wednesday, saying the figures behind Perez in the video looked like dolls and expressing surprise the helicopter could fly freely and also not injure anyone.

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