Opposition-controlled Venezuela legislature calls for protest to oust Maduro

CARACAS (AFP) – Venezuela’s sidelined opposition-controlled legislature is calling for a mass protest against President Nicolas Maduro in a bid to oust the socialist leader in favour of “a transitional government.”

Maduro, 56, was sworn in for a second term on Thursday, having won a controversial election in May that was boycotted by the opposition and branded a fraud by the United States, European Union and Organisation of American States.

The President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, said Friday that the constitution gives the legislature the right to assume transitional power after declaring Maduro a “usurper,” but said it would need military backing and for people to take to the streets to demand change.

“Is it enough to lean on the constitution in a dictatorship? No. It needs to be the people, the military and the international community that lead us to take over,” said the 35 year-old Guaido, speaking to a crowd of around 1,000 opposition supporters in Caracas.

In response, Prisons Minister Iris Varela threatened Guaido on Twitter, saying she had a cell ready for him – as Maduro dismissed the opposition as “little boys.”

A drawing of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with a message reading ‘Maduro usurper’ hangs on a telephone booth in Caracas. – AP