Police officer killed during anti-Maduro protests in Venezuela

5 Killed in Violence during Venezuelan Opposition's General Strike against Maduro Regime

"This constituent assembly has an illegitimate origin, and because of that, we can not recognize its result", said Santos, speaking at an education event and repeating a call for a peaceful solution to unrest in Venezuela. "We insist on a peaceful solution for the country's situation،" said President Santos. In his mid-20s, Simon Zerpa started working for Maduro in the Foreign Ministry in the so-called “mobile office” which accompanied the president on foreign trips, and as such, worked on all deals with foreign countries, including China.

The U.S. also said it had determined that Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, hit with U.S. sanctions in February, had "hundreds of millions of dollars" in assets that have been frozen due to the sanctions.

Violinist Wuilly Arteaga's attorney said Friday that a member of the Venezuelan National Guard took his violin and hit him with it while detaining him.

Tensions have steadily increased under the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who continued to tighten his grip on power despite nationwide outrage against his administration of the country's crumbling economy.

In implicit support for the opposition, Pence praised Lopez's "courage".

"All of Caracas empty, showing firmness in its objective to reach freedom", Guevara, the opposition leader, wrote Thursday on Twitter. The 545-seat legislature will have the power to rewrite the constitution.

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"We urge the authorities to manage any protests against the Constituent Assembly in line with global human rights norms and standards", she continued, calling on those opposing the election and the Assembly to do so peacefully.

Once the members of the Constituent Assembly are elected and these hold their deliberations for the proposal of a new Constitution, a referendum will be held in which Venezuelans must decide whether or not to approve the new Constitution. PDVSA's headquarters are still decorated with portraits of Chavez, who died of cancer in 2013. Maduro to halt his plan.

Three days of protests are planned leading up to Sunday's vote, starting with the strike and culminating Friday with a demonstration billed as a "takeover of Caracas".

"It is prohibited throughout all national territory, all public meetings and demonstrations, gatherings and other similar acts that might disturb the electoral process", Interior Minister Néstor Reverol announced Thursday on state-run media, according to a CNN translation. But the hundreds of thousands who have sometimes taken to the streets during almost four months of anti-government protests were largely absent.

"This protest has been urgent from the beginning, but these two days before the election will be decisive".

Venezuelans must have entered on or before July 25 to qualify.

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Fears of open civil conflict have prompted thousands of Venezuelans to join an exodus into neighbouring Colombia.

The migrants are fleeing triple-digit inflation, food and medical shortages and a homicide rate that is among the world's highest.

An AP tally of official reports shows that the death toll in almost 4 months of civil unrest in Venezuela has reached 100.

The measure is meant as a relief for those who entered with a passport at a border checkpoint, but are now in the country illegally and unable to work, exposing them to potentially abusive employers and conditions.

Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro cheer during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, July 27, 2017.

"We hope that the poll scheduled for Sunday, if it goes ahead, will proceed peacefully and in full respect of human rights, " Throssell told a briefing.

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