Pro-Maduro protesters have been occupying the Venezeualan Embassy in Washington DC for two weeks to protect it from Juan Guaidó’s staffers, a move US officials have claimed is illegal and will lead to their arrest.
CODEPINK: Women For Peace, Popular Resistance, the ANSWER Coalition and other groups comprise the Embassy Protection Collective, who say they’d only leave if taken by force.
They believe their stay is legal because they were invited by Maduro’s embassy staffers, who they see as the legitimate, elected government of Venezuela.
“We are worried that tomorrow is the day that this is gonna all come down and there will be a showdown here,” said Codepink co-founder Medea Benjamin tonight. “We’re not going to go lightly. We are going to try to hold on to this embassy.”
Benjamin is one of dozens of activists who has been living in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC for two weeks now. The group calls themselves the “Embassy Protection Coalition,” hopes to guard against a probable takeover of the embassy by Secret Service at the direction of Juan Guaidó, an opposition leader Trump now acknowledges as the president of Venezuela.
Since that announcement that Trump no longer recognizes Nicolás Maduro, most of the embassy staff have left, and only two remain.
While those two plan to go willingly, many in the “Embassy Protection Coalition” are willing to risk arrest to stop the takeover.
Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund spoke out on behalf of the “Embassy Protection Collective.”
“The position of the collective is that this is a lawful presence,” she says, because the group recognizes the Maduro government, whose embassy staff allows them in.
During the rally, protesters said they’re “tenants” here at Venezuela’s embassy, invited by Maduro’s staff.
“If the US comes in, they are the trespassers, we are here legally.” pic.twitter.com/arVw2QBT7l
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) April 25, 2019