Vatican calls for suspension of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone

Venezuelan security forces took up positions outside the office of the country's chief prosecutor on Saturday, a day after the government inaugurated a new legislative body that the prosecutor said was fraudulently elected.

The two former mayors of Caracas, Ledezma and fellow opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez were jailed after being accused of destabilising the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The national constituent assembly also declared that Ortega Diaz can not leave the country and that her assets have been frozen.

"We will solve our differences among Venezuelans without any imperial mandate", she said to delegates and supporters gathered at the Legislative Palace.

Rodríguez announced that tomorrow will be the first session of the Constituent Assembly, as it "begins to act in favor of the people". "The violent fascists, those who wage economic war on the people, those who wage psychological war: Justice is coming for you!".

Venezuela was suspended from the trade bloc Mercosur for the second time in the past year after foreign ministers from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay held an emergency meeting in Sao Paulo.

On Friday in Caracas, police used tear gas against opposition protesters who tried to reach parliament.

Venezuela's controversial Constituent Assembly opened Friday despite objections from opposition parties and criticism from the US, the European Union and the Vatican. It says the constituent assembly is a way for the president to cling to power.

Bank of England holds rates for another month
Wage growth was also revised down, with the bank now expecting wages to contract this year by 0.5% on an inflation-adjusted basis. The Bank said it might raise borrowing costs a bit more than investors expect over the next three years.

Ortega Diaz filed a complaint Thursday seeking a court order to block the installation of the new assembly.

The opposition staged protests in the capital on Saturday, but there were no signs of the street violence of the past four months that has left a death toll of more than 125.

The assembly, elected on Sunday in a vote boycotted by the opposition, is charged with rewriting Chavez's 1999 constitution and has been given sweeping powers over other branches of government.

The Vatican issued an unheeded urgent appeal to Venezuela's leaders to suspend its new Constituent Assembly which, it says, is threatening the future of the South American nation.

"It will be a biased and biased instrument that will not solve, but will aggravate the acute problems of high cost of living, the shortage of food and medicines that suffer the people, and deepen and worsen the deep political crisis we now face".

Last week, the United States imposed targeted sanctions on Maduro - who Trump has called a "dictator" - and more than a dozen of his close allies, freezing any U.S. assets they might have.

"We reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners", the statement added. While the government said that eight million citizens voted in favour of establishing the Constituent Assembly, the company that provided voting machines for the election said the turnout numbers results were tampered with.

H.R. McMaster, the USA national security adviser, said in a television interview Saturday that "democracy is over right now in Venezuela", but dismissed the threat of military intervention there from an outside source.

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