The Latest: Venezuela troops block protesters

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2017 5:54 PM
The Latest: Venezuela troops block protesters

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Hundreds of soldiers in armored vehicles have blocked the passage of demonstrators who attempted to march from the wealthy east of Caracas to government offices in the city's center.

Some protesters banged on the armored vehicles or climbed atop of them.

A small group that tried to get around was turned back by tear gas.

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1 p.m.

Venezuela analyst Javier Corrales says it's hard to say how much the high court's reversal of its earlier decision has harmed the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Corrales calls the move "huge," noting that it is the first time since the opposition won the National Assembly in 2015 that it has been able to get Maduro to reverse a decision. He teaches Latin American politics at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Saturday's reversal undoes most of the original court decision, but will still allow Maduro to enter into joint oil ventures with congress' approval.

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11 a.m.

Opposition lawmakers scoffed at how the Supreme Court had disavowed its earlier decisions this week taking powers from congress and limiting lawmakers' immunity from prosecution.

At an outdoor rally in the wealthy eastern Caracas, they called on supporters to remain mobilized on the streets to keep pressure on the government to hold elections this year.

Several high-profile opposition lawmakers were flying back from trips to nearby countries to participate in the Saturday event.

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9:45 a.m.

Venezuela's Supreme Court has reversed its move to strip congress of its legislative powers.

The move had drawn widespread criticism at home and abroad that the South American country was no longer a democracy.

President Nicolas Maduro asked the Supreme court in a late-night speech to review a ruling nullifying the lawmaking body after that decision set off a storm of criticism from the opposition and foreign governments.

The court on Saturday released new rulings that appeared to reinstate congress' authority.

It was a rare instance of the embattled socialist president backing away from a move that would have increased his power.