Pro-government militias wielding wooden sticks and metal bars stormed the congress building in Caracas on Wednesday, attacking opposition lawmakers during a special session coinciding with Venezuela's independence day. At least four lawmakers were injured and blood was spattered on the National Assembly's white walls, the AP reports. One lawmaker, Americo de Grazia, had to be removed in a stretcher while suffering from convulsions. "This doesn't hurt as much as watching how every day how we lose a little bit more of our country," another, Armando Arias, said from inside an ambulance as he was being treated for head wounds that spilled blood across his clothes.
The unprecedented attack, in plain view of national guardsmen assigned to protect the legislature, comes amid three months of often-violent confrontations between security forces and protesters who accuse Nicolas Maduro's government of trying to establish a dictatorship by jailing foes and rewriting the constitution to avoid fair elections. National Assembly president Julio Borges said more than 350 politicians, journalists, and others were trapped in a siege of the building that continued until dusk, Reuters reports."There are bullets, cars destroyed including mine, blood stains around the palace," he said. "The violence in Venezuela has a name and surname: Nicolas Maduro." (Read more Venezuela stories.)