Washington, May 16 (RHC)-- U.S. security forces broke into the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC Thursday morning and arrested four members of the Embassy Protection Collective. The announcement was made by the organization and confirmed by their attorney, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who affirmed that such action violates several articles of the Vienna Convention and is a total violation of international law.
Reports described the scene at the diplomatic mission, with heavily armed DC police officers and Secret Service forces gathered at the back entrance. According to teleSUR, authorities dressed in military gear took up position in the embassy's basement where there are no surveillance cameras. This allowed U.S. authorities to make the arrests out of the sight of the public and the media.
Jose Pertierra, an international law expert, said this tactic of trying to remove the protectors through the basement was being done "in order to avoid a war of images where they can have police act without the public seeing them." Pertierra added that this security force operation violates international law that prohibits a host nation from invading the sovereign territory of another country’s embassy. The legal expert said the protesters who were arrested will likely sue the U.S. administration, "which is not in the interest of the government."
The activists, who had been inside the building since mid-April, had lost weight since barricading themselves in the embassy to protect it against the illegal takeover by U.S. authorities and the Venezuelan opposition. Their food supplies had been cut off by U.S. authorities and opposition activists also stationed themselves outside the embassy.
Carlos Vecchio, appointed by self-declared president of Venezuela Juan Guaido as his 'ambassador' to the United States, ordered the electricity and water turned off at the embassy over the past week.
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