Venezuela’s Maduro lauds security forces

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Venezuela’s political crisis over installation of a special assembly to rewrite the constitution (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

President Nicolas Maduro is heralding security forces, portraying them as heroes fighting “terrorists” amid mounting criticism of their heavy-handed tactics quelling protests.

Speaking to the National Guard that have been on the front lines of four months of deadly protests, Maduro promised that more than 580 members of the force who he said had been attacked since the protest movement began would receive reparations as part of the work of the Constitutional assembly that convened for the first time Friday.

“I feel deeply the wounds of each one of you,” Maduro said addressing a small group of injured national guardsmen with burns, on crutches and wearing neck braces. “With your bodies as your shield, you have defended the right to peace.”

Several human rights groups and foreign government have denounced excessive use of force by members of the security forces and Venezuela’s chief prosecutor is investigating several uniformed officers for firing live ammunition on protesters in apparent violation of the constitution.

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5:10 p.m.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is calling on Venezuela to adopt measures for the protection of its chief prosecutor, who has broken with President Nicolas Maduro amid a protracted political crisis.

The commission urges the Venezuelan government to do whatever necessary “to guarantee the life and physical integrity” of prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz.

Ignacio J. Alvarez is Ortega’s representative to the proceedings in Washington. Alvarez said Friday that the court-dictated measures “are crucial to try to preserve the important role she is playing for human rights and what is left of democracy in Venezuela.”

On Thursday, Ortega filed an injunction seeking to block the installation of a newly elected constitutional assembly with the authority to rewrite the nation’s charter and trump all other branches of government. She also ordered an investigation into alleged election tampering in the vote to elect the assembly.

Maduro allies have said one of the body’s first tasks will be to target Ortega. She was a longtime supporter of the late President Hugo Chavez but has been critical of Maduro’s government and opposed some of its actions.

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2:10 p.m.

Former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has delivered a stern warning to government opponents in her first remarks as head…

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