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Mob of Maduro supporters storms Venezuelan Parliament

Rumpus on Venezuela's Independence Day leaves several injured

CARACAS, Venezuela – A mob of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro supporters stormed into the Parliament to beat up lawmakers on Wednesday when the country was marking their independence from Spain. 

Lawmakers Armando Armas, Luis Carlos Padilla and Leonardo Regnault were bleeding. Americo De Grazia fell unconscious and remained in critical condition hours after the attack. 

"There have been nearly 100 youth who have died. A couple of punches are nothing," Armas said after the attack. "There are 20 idiots outside. We have more deputies in here and we are here to defend Venezuela. That's what we were elected for. Whatever it may cost. Even if it's our life." 

Oswaldo Rivero, a radio personality who works for the government station on a show called Zurda Konducta, was with the mob who attacked the lawmakers. He was holding a camera and posted videos on social media asking for more Maduro supporters to join them at the parliament. 

"We are assuming the historic responsibility of what we are doing. No one is telling us what to do," Rivero said in a video he shared on Twitter. "We are protesting against those who are hiding our food, who are engaging in terrorist acts and are acting against the people."

Rivero also shared videos of witnesses alleging that they were the victims of lawmakers' body guards' aggression and reported there were civilians injured. Members of the group who were with Rivero robbed Local 10 News' Cody Weddle outside of parliament.

The chaos and an attempt to take Weddle away from the Parliament ensued despite the presence of police officers and members of the National Guard.   

Richard Blanco, a lawmaker with the Fearless People's Alliance party, said National Guard Col. Vladimir Lugo was responsible for the building's security. He and other opposition lawmakers attributed the attack to the leftist groups know as "colectivos sociales."

Lugo "allowed the 'colectivos' with sticks, knives and fireworks to walk into the national seat of power," Blanco said. 

Julio Borges, the speaker of the assembly, reported that Nora Bracho was also among the injured, but managed to barricade herself in the chamber while the violence unfolded outside. She tweeted a video showing the blood that was left on the walls. 

About 5:45 p.m., the assembly announced on their Twitter account that there were 120 assistants, 108 reporters and 94 lawmakers trapped inside the government building. 

Maduro said he was not complicit in any act of violence. The attack comes after three months of government repression on demonstrators who are demanding elections and oppose the president's effort to rewrite the nation's constitution. 

Last week, Maduro had a different tone during a government rally. 

"We would never give up and what couldn't be done with votes, we would do with weapons," he said. 

SOCIAL MEDIA | Warning: Graphic content

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