CARACAS, Venezuela — The Latest on Venezuela’s political crisis and an opposition referendum on government plans to rewrite the constitution. (all times local):
The chief prosecutor’s office said a woman has been killed and four people wounded in shooting that erupted after government supporters on motorcycles swarmed an opposition polling site in a church in western Caracas.
The opposition mayor of the Caracas borough of Sucre, Carlos Ocariz, said pro-government paramilitary groups attacked voters outside the Our Lady of Carmen Church around 3 p.m. The chief prosecutor’s office said Xiomara Soledad Scott, a nurse, had been killed and four others wounded in the incident.
Video posted to social media showed massive crowds outside the church, then hundreds of people running in panic outside the church as motorcycle-riding men zoomed past and shots rang out.
The violence came as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans lined up across the country and in expatriate communities around the world Sunday to vote in a symbolic rejection of President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.
At least one person has been killed and three wounded in shooting that erupted after government supporters on motorcycles swarmed an opposition polling site in a church in the traditionally pro-government Catia neighborhood of western Caracas.
The chief prosecutor’s office said a woman had been killed and three wounded in the incident. The office provided her name, Xiomara Escot, but gave no other details.
The opposition mayor of the Caracas borough of Sucre, Carlos Ocariz, said pro-government paramilitary groups had attacked voters outside the Our Lady of Carmen Church around 3 p.m.
Hours earlier, hundreds of opposition supporters chanted “this government will fall!” and traded insults with a group of government supporters as dozens of riot police and national guardsmen looked on. A group of the pro-government paramilitaries known as “motorizados” passed by but did not stop.
Video taken about two hours later and posted to social media showed hundreds of people running in panic outside the church as motorcycle-riding men zoomed past and shots rang out.
Venezuelan citizens are voting at polling places in Boston, Worcester and hundreds of other sites in the U.S., joining their countrymen at home in a symbolic rejection of the Venezuelan government’s plan to rewrite the constitution.
Boston resident Ana Julia Jatar says Venezuelans are voting because they want elections. She says they “want to go back to a Democratic system in which we can vote and elect those who we think would manage the country best for us and our children.”
She’s the sister of journalist Braulio Jatar, who was detained on money laundering charges after publicizing a protest against President Nicolas Maduro.
Supporters of the referendum hope to win enough turnout to undermine the validity of President Nicolas Maduro’s constitutional assembly. The opposition says that plan is structured to pack the constitutional assembly with government supporters and allow Maduro to eliminate the few remaining checks on his power.
Organizers say more than 10,000 Venezuelans have voted in Spain’s capital in an opposition-sponsored referendum to reject President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution.
Polls will remain open in Madrid and 78 other cities and towns in Spain until 8 p.m. local time for Venezuelans residing in the European country.
The Democratic Unity opposition coalition has called for voters both in and outside Venezuela to participate in the symbolic referendum two weeks before the government holds elections for a constitutional assembly.
Among those who have voted in Madrid are former Democratic Unity general secretary Chuo Torrealba, singer Carlos Baute and writer Boris Izaguirre.
According to Spain’s national statistics institute, over 60,000 Venezuelans resided in Spain in 2016.
Thousands of Venezuelans have lined up across the country to vote in an opposition-sponsored referendum meant to reject President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.
The success of the symbolic referendum will be measured by how many millions participate. The Democratic Unity opposition coalition has printed 14 million ballots for voters inside and outside the country of 31 million people.
Few expect turnout that high but analysts say participation by more than 8 million people would significantly hike pressure on the government two weeks before it holds elections for a constitutional assembly.
Polls show the socialist government would likely lose a presidential election under the current constitution, and it says it wants a rewrite that would advance its revolutionary system.
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