People vote in unofficial referendum — Venezuela

People vote in unofficial referendum — Venezuela

Video from the scene showed people rushing away from the gunshots. Some people sought refuge in a nearby church. Attempts at dialogue have failed, and now each is talking to the public at cross-purposes.

"Human beings deserve to be in a county with liberty", Gonzalez said.

The opposition blamed the attack on "paramilitary groups" linked to the government.

He called for an end to violence that he blamed on the opposition.

The organizers that 47,272 voting officials and over 80,000 volunteers have been deployed to ensure the results are confirmed rapidly, while the participation rolls will be destroyed in order to avoid manipulations.

The United Nations has called on the Venezuelan government to let people take part in an unofficial referendum on the constitution on Sunday and to make sure security forces do not use excessive force against protesters.

Maduro has positioned his proposed constitutional rewrite as a solution to this continuing unrest, calling Sunday's vote "a meaningless internal exercise".

Carlos Ocariz, mayor of the town of Sucre, wrote on Twitter that Venezuelan communities abroad, in countries such as Australia and Spain, were also taking part.

The government calls the opposition vote a manipulation aimed at destabilising the country, and has been urging its supporters to participate in the constitutional assembly, which it calls a way of restoring peace to Venezuela.

The symbolic vote, organized by the Democratic Unity Opposition Coalition, took place at polling locations across the globe.

Yesterday, candidate for the Constituent Assembly Ricardo Molina, even said that seniors who vote in the plebiscite could lose their retirement pension.

This would allow the president to stay in power during the process, and could lead to a delay of the 2018 presidential election.

"It's very important to me because in my country, we have a dictatorship", Gonzalez said.

Voters on Sunday answered three yes or no questions: Do they reject the constituent assembly?

"I have never seen a situation where opening times for a practice run of an election have to be extended", said Hector Rodriguez, head of the Zamora constituent campaign, at a press conference.

But the government said it would ask the Supreme Court of Justice to nullify the the plebiscite as "unconstitutional, and illegal". On Sunday, a symbolic nationwide plebiscite will be held in which Venezuelans will be asked whether or not they want a new constitution. He says he watched his mother die because they couldn't afford medicine and many in his neighborhood resort to eating trash because they couldn't afford food due to inflating prices.

Supporters say making changes to the constitution will bring peace and stability to the country, while those opposing say it will create a Cuba-style system dominated by Maduro's socialist party. Voters lined up early, sometimes by the hundreds, many wearing shirts and hats with the Venezuelan flag on it, chanting against Maduro.

But some cracks are appearing in his camp. "We are slowly losing it. With this new constitution the president is proposing, we are going to see a more autocratic regime and this is what we want to prevent".

Venezuela's population is estimated at over 31 million people.

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