The radical leftist Code Pink organization has been squatting in and around the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., for weeks. In recent days, they have taken to confrontations and fights outside with Juan Guaidó supporters who have been trying to wrest control of the building from the group.
The socialist group sees their occupation of the embassy building as protecting the building from a “hostile takeover” by the U.S.-recognized government headed by Guaidó.
“We feel that the elected government and the government that holds power and the government that’s recognized by the United Nations is the Maduro government, and they deserve to have their embassy here,” Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told Fox News. “That’s why we’ve been here.”
According to Fox News, approximately 50 pro-Maduro activists have been trespassing in the embassy that was abandoned by the Maduro regime after President Trump recognized Guaidó as the country’s elected president.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson on Thursday was quoted in a statement as saying, “Any unauthorized individuals on the property are trespassers. The Venezuelan government, led by interim President Juan Guaido, has legal authority over the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C.
“We encourage the remaining unauthorized individuals to vacate the building and to conduct any future protest peacefully and through legal means.”
Video by Fox News
Fox reported: “On Tuesday, flag-waving and national-anthem singing demonstrators, many of whom were born in Venezuela, quickly outnumbered those from Code Pink. They gathered outside the embassy to protest Code Pink members’ presence, demanding they leave.”
A Secret Service spokesman said the agency’s Uniformed Division – Foreign Missions Branch patrols diplomatic locations in Washington’s embassy district. The spokesman indicated that officers have been on the premises of the Venezuelan Embassy to ensure public safety during ongoing demonstrations. Reporters say that the officers have tried, mostly with success, to keep the two protesting sides separated when things get heated.
Indicative of the kind of discussions happening outside the Venezuelan embassy right now. pic.twitter.com/LhNGDhkiBa
— Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox) May 2, 2019
Pro-Guaido protesters outside the embassy have been carrying signs such as “Venezuela wants Democracy, not another Cuba.” These protesters emphasized that they are from Venezuela – unlike many of the Code Pink protesters.
“Those people right there, they’re not Venezuelan. They don’t have a passport. They don’t have our IDs,” said Clemente Pinate, who identified himself as being from Venezuela who came to the United States when he was 12.
“We’re here today to denounce the trespassing of Code Pink,” said Carla Bustillos. “This is a property of the people of Venezuela. It’s an asset of the nation, and the nation is now facing a transition — a transition to democracy.”
This is Mohammed, a young man from #Venezuela who Code Pink has accused of breaking into the embassy and barricading himself in a room until he was removed by officers from the Secret Service. That’s not an accurate account, he told the crowd here. His words: pic.twitter.com/mtBfUoeh9c
— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa_Jae) May 1, 2019
The Washington Post reported that Victoria Mattiuzzo, who moved to the U.S. from Venezuela four years ago, held a handmade sign that said, “Take your ignorance off my country.”
“The irony of U.S. citizens holding signs that say ‘hands off Venezuela’ as they are here usurping our embassy … you can’t make that up.” Mattiuzzo said.
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