Mob Storms Venezuela’s National Assembly, Beating Lawmakers as Troops Look Other Way

In Venezuela On

Bloodied lawmakers were treated for broken ribs and head injuries, and journalists said the attackers had stolen their equipment. The episode in Caracas, which coincided with Venezuela’s Independence Day, was a sharp escalation of lawlessness in a country roiled by a failing economy and daily street demonstrations.

“We’re here to defend Venezuela; that’s what we were elected to do,” Armando Armas, an opposition lawmaker wearing a bloodied white shirt, said in a video as two people cleaned what appeared to be head wounds. “Even if it costs us our lives.”

Opposition lawmakers said the attack had been carried out by so-called colectivos, bands of armed men in plain clothes who take their cues from the government of President Nicolás Maduro to thwart demonstrations and intimidate dissidents. While National Assembly lawmakers have been assaulted before, the attack on Wednesday was remarkable because the throng of assailants appeared to face no resistance from National Guard forces charged with securing the compound.

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