Masked officers from SEBIN intelligence police unit blocked the building’s entrances and lined the street with their vehicles, barring entry by lawmakers aligned with Juan Guaido.
Intelligence police raided the office of Juan Guaido on Tuesday, while the US-backed opposition leader was travelling in Europe seeking to bolster support for his campaign to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Masked officers from feared SEBIN intelligence police unit blocked the building’s entrances and lined the street with their vehicles, barring entry by lawmakers aligned with Guaido.
The United States and about 60 other nations recognise Guaido, who heads the opposition-dominated National Assembly, as Venezuela’s legitimate president. They contend Maduro’s 2018 re-election was invalid and marred by fraud. Guaido, however, has no control over government institution or the military.
Legislator Manuela Bolivar confirmed the raid on his office, saying she was allowed to go to the door of the third-floor space, where officers were still inside working inside.
Lawmakers called it an illegal search.
“We don’t know what they’re stolen or what they’ve brought with them,” legislator Angel Torres said. “They usually enter without a judge’s order and set up a show saying they found this or that or any artifact they might have planted.”
In November, unidentified armed men with their faces covered raided the headquarters of Guaido’s political party, taking cellphones, computer and ID cards from staffers the night before a large street protest against Maduro.
Tuesday’s police action came just hours after opposition lawmakers called off an attempt to hold a National Assembly session in the congress building across town, saying they wanted to avoid clashes with security forces and armed government supporters blocking entry.
Juan Pablo Guanipa, first vice president of the National Assembly, said from the headquarters of a political party that streets leading to their legislative building had been “militarized” by armed groups, so they were not going to attempt an entry until next week.
Instead, the lawmakers held a makeshift meeting on a public square in an opposition-friendly part of Caracas away from downtown. They sat on chairs set up before a stage amid trees and backed by their flag-colored streamer and emblem.