Tensions remain high in Venezuela, where a controversial new legislative superbody has put government supporters and the opposition at loggerheads.

About 2,000 gathered outside Venezuela's congressional complex and chanted in support of a new constituent assembly.
About 2,000 gathered outside Venezuela's congressional complex and chanted in support of a new constituent assembly.

Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro marched in Caracas on Monday in favour of a new legislative superbody.

The new, all-powerful legislative assembly aims to lock in the "Bolivarian revolution" begun almost 20 years ago by late President Hugo Chavez, Maduro's mentor and predecessor.

Maduro has called the assembly Venezuela's only hope of peace, but opponents say it will cement dictatorship in the OPEC country.

"More than anything, this march is a call for peace," a pro-Maduro activist told state television, giving her name as Ana.

About 2,000 people jammed the streets in front of Venezuela's congressional complex, where the constituent assembly will hold its sessions. They chanted in support of the assembly and called for an end to over 4 months of opposition protests and unrest in which more than 120 people have died.

Pro-government supporters holding an image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez attend a march in Caracas, Venezuela, August 7, 2017.
Pro-government supporters holding an image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez attend a march in Caracas, Venezuela, August 7, 2017.

The new assembly has power to rewrite the constitution, re-jig state institutions and could allow the president to rule by decree in the oil-rich but economically-ailing country.

The opposition says the assembly is intended to keep Maduro in office despite approval ratings battered by a deep recession and shortages of food and medicine.

Websites hacked

Meanwhile, a group calling itself The Binary Guardians said it had hacked around 40 state websites to show their support for a pre-dawn armed assault on a military base the day before.

Those who attacked the army base near the city of Valencia said their "Operation David," in reference to the biblical story of David and Goliath, was aimed at starting an insurgency against leftist leader Maduro.

A still image from video released by Operation David Carabobo purportedly shows a group of men dressed in military uniforms announcing uprising in Valencia.
A still image from video released by Operation David Carabobo purportedly shows a group of men dressed in military uniforms announcing uprising in Valencia.

Around 20 men led by an army officer who had deserted battled troops in the base for three hours early on Sunday.

The raid ended with two of the attackers being killed and eight captured. The other 10 escaped with weapons taken from the facility, according to officials who said an "intense search" was underway for them.

No more assaults appear to have followed and protests in the city were quickly dispersed with tear gas.

Anti-government protests in Valencia were quickly controlled by tear gas after a group attacked a military base in the city.
Anti-government protests in Valencia were quickly controlled by tear gas after a group attacked a military base in the city.

The country's CNE elections authority, which ran the July 31 vote for the new 545-member constituent assembly, was among the sites hacked. Its hacked page featured a flyer in favour of Operation David, and a video showing a clip from Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator.

In the clip, Chaplin gives a rousing speech against authoritarianism.

"Soldiers! Don't give yourself to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel," Chaplin says in the speech.

Venezuela's opposition has long referred to Maduro as a dictator, especially since his loyalist Supreme Court started throwing out laws passed by the opposition-controlled Congress.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies