Venezuela's ANC strips Juan Guaido of parliamentary immunity

AFP  File  CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ People walk along a dark street during a power outage in Caracas

AFP File CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ People walk along a dark street during a power outage in Caracas

Venezuelan Constituent Assembly has approved continuation of proceedings against the country's opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó.

Tensions flared when Guaido declared himself acting president on January 23 - a move supported by the USA and many European and Latin American countries.

Tuesday night's vote was unanimous.

Mr Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela in January, a move that has been back by several countries including the United States and UK.

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The move came after Supreme Court Justice Maikel Moreno ordered the Constituent Assembly to strip Guaido of immunity for violating an order banning him from leaving Venezuela.

"The people ask for justice and we are acting within the framework of justice", said ANC Vice President Tania Diaz, adding that the ANC had been elected to guarantee peace and legality in the country.

Another local said they use water only for sanitation, while another woman said she has to use water for cooking as well. The opposition leader is also accused of inciting violence through street protests, and of receiving illicit funds from overseas.

The opposition is calling on its supporters to join in another round of national protests this Saturday, following a wave of power cuts and water shortages.

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Earlier Tuesday, Guaido dismissed the Maduro-stacked high court and Constituent Assembly as illegitimate, and continued his calls for Maduro to step down.

Mike Pence, who is helping lead the White House campaign to dislodge Mr Maduro from power, said: "We recognise the importance of energy to the United States".

Venezuelan security forces have detained Guaido's chief of staff, but had yet to move directly against the opposition leader, whose claim to be interim president is backed by dozens of countries that say Maduro's reelection previous year was rigged.

Revoking immunity from arrest is the latest in a series of moves by Maduro and his allies to pressure the opposition leader. Officials have jailed his chief of staff, Roberto Marrero, and accused him of involvement in a "terrorist" scheme to overthrow the government. Last Thursday, the Maduro government announced that it had barred Guaido from holding public office for 15 years for illegally receiving funds from domestic and overseas sources.

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Maduro blames Washington of attempting a coup to overthrow him and install Guaido's puppet government aimed at seizing Venezuela's vast oil reserves.

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