President’s supporters attack Venezuelan MPs

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Five opposition members of parliament were taken to hospital following the attack by about 100 supporters of President Nicolas Maduro, who were armed with metal pipes, wooden sticks and clubs.

Two employees of the assembly were also reported to have been injured in the assault, which left people with blood pouring from their heads and the walls stained with blood.

  1. People react as a firecracker explodes outside the National Assembly, in CaracasPeople react as a firecracker explodes outside the National Assembly, in Caracas
    Seven politicians are hurt, as a mob of around 100 pro-government militants storm the National Assembly, in Caracas, Venezuela
  2. Employees of the National Assembly and members of the press run as Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro storm the buildingEmployees of the National Assembly and members of the press run as Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro storm the building
    The government building is the only state institution still nominally controlled by the opposition
  3. Government supporters break a car outside the National Assembly, in CaracasGovernment supporters break a car outside the National Assembly, in Caracas
    Government backers smash up a car before rushing the congress
  4. Government supporters clash with members of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National AssemblyGovernment supporters clash with members of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly
    Supporters of President Maduro broke through the front gate and crossed the interior gardens
  5. Government supporters attack a person outside Venezuela's opposition-controlled National AssemblyGovernment supporters attack a person outside Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly
    Armed with metal bars and wooden sticks, attackers left victims with blood pouring from their heads
  6. A member of the National Guard reacts after government supporters (not pictured) threw a fire cracker at the National Assembly in CaracasA member of the National Guard reacts after government supporters (not pictured) threw a fire cracker at the National Assembly in Caracas
    Firecrackers were set off, creating panic and fear among the opposition
  7. Journalists react as supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro storm into the National Assembly buildingJournalists react as supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro storm into the National Assembly building
    Two employees of the assembly were also reported to have been injured in the attack
  8. People use fire extinguishers during clashes with government supporters outside the National AssemblyPeople use fire extinguishers during clashes with government supporters outside the National Assembly
    People rush to put out fires caused by concussion grenades
  9. Government supporters try to enter Venezuela's opposition-controlled National AssemblyGovernment supporters try to enter Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly
    Masked militants force their way inside the corridors of the congressional building
  10. An injured government supporter tries to leave the building after he and a group of fellow government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly An injured government supporter tries to leave the building after he and a group of fellow government supporters burst into Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly
    An injured and shirtless government supporter is restrained by security forces
  11. Opposition lawmaker Luis Stefanelli (C) holds an injured government supporter Opposition lawmaker Luis Stefanelli (C) holds an injured government supporter
    Opposition lawmaker Luis Stefanelli (C) grabs the bloodied militant
  12. A member of the National Guard gestures as government supporters (not pictured) throw firecrackers at the National Assembly in CaracasA member of the National Guard gestures as government supporters (not pictured) throw firecrackers at the National Assembly in Caracas
    A member of the National Guard amid the smoke and chaos
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The attack took place on Wednesday – Venezuela’s independence day – marking 206 years of the country’s independence from Spain.

Government backers broke through the front gate, crossing the interior gardens before reaching the corridors of the congressional building.

One man was reported to be carrying a gun, and concussion grenades and firecrackers were set off, creating panic and fear among the opposition.

Following the attack, around 350 people were trapped in the National Assembly during a nine-hour siege.

Protester plays violin amid anti-government march in Venezuela

Video:Venezuela violinist in unusual protest

While military police initially stood by, the siege was finally brought to an end when officers and soldiers stepped in to form a cordon, allowing people to safely exit the building.

The National Assembly is the only state institution still nominally controlled by the opposition, who want to see President Maduro removed from power.

Mr Maduro condemned the attack, saying: “I will never be complicit in any act of violence.”

The US State Department called the attack “an assault” on Venezuela’s “democratic principles”.

Helicopter firing shots as it flies over Venezuela's supreme court

Video:Police helicopter fires shots at Venezuela court

This attack is just the latest violent outburst in a series of anti-government protests, which have killed 91 people since April.

Protesters blame Mr Maduro for the country’s economic crisis, while he insists the chaos is the result of a US-backed capitalist conspiracy by the opposition.

President Maduro – who has the support of the military – is now planning to set up an assembly to rewrite the constitution, a move the opposition say is calculated to keep him in power.

Last month, a Venezuelan police officer and film star in a helicopter dropped four grenades on Venezuela’s supreme court before opening fire on the interior ministry, in a protest against what he called a “tyrannical” government.

In a video released on Wednesday, Oscar Perez urged the security forces to turn on Mr Maduro.

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