Venezuela Bans Protests in Run-Up to Controversial Referendum
The country is at a tipping point.
Those caught protesting in Venezuela could face five to 10 years in prison.
That's the radical measure that the government has taken to squash dissent in the run-up to a vote that could grant President Nicolás Maduro quasi-dictatorial powers, USA Today reports .
The ban follows a nationwide strike by opposition members and will run into next week, leading up to the vote on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the country will elect 545 representatives for a special constitutional assembly that could rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions, according to CNN .
Critics argue that this move undermines the democratically-elected National Assembly and fear that the special election could be rigged.
The president, meanwhile, is saying that the assembly is a chance for the country to have a reconcilitation after more than a year of violent protests, a cratering economy, rampant corruption, and widespread suffering.
Opposition leaders plan to hold rallies and protests through the vote despite the possibility of arrest.
"We will not kneel, we will not fail. We will fight," Freddy Guevara, vice president of the National Assembly, told reporters on Thursday evening.
Since protests intensified in April, more than 111 have been killed and 1,900 wounded, according to CNN .
8 Photos of Badass Women Who Made Hatred Shrink in Their Presence
Inspiration to keep smiling in the face of hatred. Read More
Baller Kid Saves $300 for an XBox, Buys a Well for an Indian Village Instead
If your name's Josiah Shaffer, odds are you’re a Global Citizen. Read More
The Everyday Hero Who Intervened When a Muslim Woman Was Being Bullied on a Train
Sadly, he was the only person who did. Read More