Pro-Maduro protestors evicted from Venezuela embassy in US


Washington (AFP)

US police on Thursday evicted the last of a group of protestors who have been occupying the Venezuelan embassy in Washington in support of President Nicolas Maduro, ending a weeks-long standoff.

"The liberation of our embassy came about thanks to the struggle of the Venezuelan diaspora," said Carlos Vecchio, envoy for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president earlier this year in a power play against Maduro.

"With sacrifice they held the grounds against all adversity," said Vecchio on Twitter.

Various police and firefighting vehicles were seen inside the grounds of the diplomatic mission in the US capital, which was taken over last month by a number of left-wing and pacifist activists protesting Guaido's bid to push Maduro out.

The most high-profile of the groups behind the occupation, CODEPINK, denounced what it called the "illegal entry and arrest at DC Venezuela Embassy."

It promised to "keep fighting to protect the embassy from illegal takeover by Guaido forces."

Guaido has been recognized as leader of the crisis-stricken country by some 50 states, including the United States.

"At this moment the authorities are checking the building to ensure its security before taking it over," Vecchio said.

A group of Venezuelans had gathered outside the cordoned-off embassy building and were chanting slogans such as "Viva Venezuela."

For more than a month, an unclear number of Americans belonging to a group calling itself the Embassy Protection Collective had been living in the embassy, with the consent of the Maduro government.

The American squatters, whose numbers dwindled to just four people this week after police warned they would enter the building by force, aimed to block the entry of the Guaido delegation to the embassy.