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Protesters Arrested as Demonstrations Heat Up Outside Venezuelan Embassy in DC

By Wednesday night, power and water was cut off at the building and police were not letting anyone bring food inside

Protesters at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington were taken into custody Wednesday evening as demonstrations got heated.

The embassy in Georgetown has become an unlikely flashpoint in the confrontation between populist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and U.S.-backed Juan Guaidó for political power in the South American country.

Maduro invited American activists who see him as Venezuela's legitimate leader into the embassy a month ago as the United States and another 50 countries recognized Guaidó as president and severed ties with his government. After the embassy was officially closed, the diplomats left, but the activists stayed.

By Wednesday night, power and water was cut off at the building and police were not letting anyone bring food inside.

A man was arrested for trying to throw food into an open window at the embassy. Video showed the bloodied protester sitting on the ground wearing handcuffs after a struggle with officers.

Officers were seen putting handcuffs on another protester who was wearing a shirt representing Code Pink, one of the organizations at the embassy supporting Maduro.

Outside the embassy, Venezuelan expatriates have been protesting the activists' presence inside the embassy.

President Donald Trump's administration has said the activists are trespassing Venezuelan sovereign territory and need to leave. Gustavo Vecchio, Guaidó's appointee as ambassador to Washington, has said he's signed all necessary documents and it is now up to U.S. authorities to clear the building.

The activists created a so-called Venezuela Embassy Protection Collective, hanging giant posters from the roof and keeping a busy schedule of conferences, concerts, poetry recitals and other events.

The Venezuelan expatriates started showing up in big numbers after an uprising against Maduro failed last week.

It's unclear how many people the U.S. Secret Service took into custody Wednesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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