WASHINGTON (Sputnik): Police have been sieging the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC despite resistance from activists supporting the diplomatic mission loyal to the country’s elected President Nicolas Maduro and accusations of violating the untouchable status of the embassy.
US police have broken into the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC and arrested four protesters from the Embassy Protection Collective, according to Medea Benjamin, an activist from the anti-war group CODEPINK. Among the four who were arrested during the raid are anti-war activists Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. A US Secret Service spokesman confirmed that it had helped Department of State’s Diplomatic Security arrest the remaining Embassy Protection Collective protesters inside the Venezuelan Embassy.
“This morning, US Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers assisted US Department of State Diplomatic Security Service Special Agents in executing federal arrests warrants against individuals who were inside the Venezuelan Embassy”, the Secret Service statement said.
CODEPINK activists have reported that the lawyer for the Embassy Protection Collective was seen entering the building, escorted by DC police.
Benjamin cited Venezuel-a’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Ron as denouncing the US actions as a violation of the Vienna Conventions and slamming the arrest of Embassy Protection Collective members.
“We call on the US government to sign a Protecting Power Agreement to ensure the integrity of our Embassy in DC and the US Embassy in Caracas. We do not authorise any of the coup representatives to enter the Embassy”, he was quoted as saying by the CODEPINK activist.
CODEPINK activists’ reports were later confirmed by a Washington Post reporter on the scene, who heard one of the protesters guarding the embassy call out a window that police are after them. The reporter spotted an ambulance approaching the embassy’s garage and paramedics rolling out stretchers. So far, no injuries have been reported among the protesters.
The activists from the Embassy Protection Collective have been living inside the embassy since 10 April in a bid to protect it from US attempts to seize the facility and hand it over to supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. The group was invited by the embassy’s Venezuelan diplomats, who were forced to leave US soil.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier slammed US attempts to seize the property of the country’s embassy, pointing to its “inviolability” under international treaties regulating the activities of diplomatic missions.