MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Earlier in the day, Venezuelan Communication and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said that a hijacked helicopter of the police investigative agency, known as CICPC, attacked the buildings housing the country’s Supreme Court and Interior Ministry. Local media said Oscar Perez, who used to serve in the CICPC, piloted the helicopter during the attack.
“Nicolas Maduro Moros, we demand your and your ministers' immediate resignation and immediate announcement of general elections,” Perez said in a video address, published simultaneously with the attack on the Supreme Court.
Perez noted that he along with his supporters wanted to return the power to the people and restore the constitutional order.
The number of Perez’s supporters, who he calls nationalists and patriots, is unclear to date.
Maduro labeled the helicopter attack as an act of terrorism and pledged to catch the perpetrators.
Venezuela entered into turbulent times in January 2016, when a new legislature was elected and relations between Maduro and the parliament became strained.
In October, the National Assembly voted to initiate impeachment proceedings against Maduro. In January 2017, the parliament declared that Maduro abandoned his post as result of refusing to carry out his duties. The Supreme Court of Justice, however, stated that the National Assembly does not have the constitutional powers to declare abandonment. Maduro classified the parliament’s actions as a coup attempt.
In late March, the Venezuelan Supreme Court decided to restrict the power of the state’s National Assembly. The decision was immediately reversed amid backlash, but supporters of the opposition-controlled parliament, who strive for the dismissal of the court members, took to the streets on April 4, marking the start of a of protests, which have claimed at least 75 lives.