For the first time in one month, Venezuelan journalists forced their way into the building that houses the country’s National Assembly and called on the military to allow the press to cover upcoming sessions.
Desde el 14 de mayo, la Guardia Nacional destacada en la zona impide el acceso a los medios y hoy usaron la fuerza para intentar impedir el ingreso. pic.twitter.com/uDbPoE1xyR
— SNTP (@sntpvenezuela) June 4, 2019
Journalists have been unable to enter the Federal Legislative Palace since April 30, when opposition leader and self-declared President Juan Guaidó –who has the support of the U.S. and other nations– called for a military uprising to force President Nicolás Maduro from power, according to the Associated Press (AP). The Bolivarian National Guard (GNB, for its initials in Spanish) has since blocked access to the press.
But on the morning of June 4, journalists and opposition members forced their way through the gates and past members of the GNB.
Members of parliament had gone to a palace entrance and called on the GNB to let the press pass, according to Efecto Cocuyo. Once they passed, another struggle ensued with members of the military at the palace’s main door, but the journalists were able to get by, the site added.
Once inside, Guaidó greeted the journalists and said “Again today truth, justice finds its way,” according to the AP. He said the Maduro government is using “misinformation” and “persecution,” the news agency added.
Representatives from the National Union of Press Workers (SNTP), National Association of Journalists (CNP) and freedom of expression organization Espacio Público, demanded the press be allowed to cover the session, Efecto Cocuyo reported.
The National Assembly, for which Guaidó is president, is controlled by the opposition. By contrast, the National Constituent Assembly, members of which were elected following a presidential decree in 2017 and tasked with rewriting the country’s constitution, is filled with members loyal to the Maduro regime. That body took parliamentary immunity away from more than a dozen members of the National Assembly before they were arrested or found safe haven in embassies, as reported by the BBC.
In addition to journalists being prohibited from entering the National Assembly for the past month, NetBlocks has reported restrictions to accessing YouTube, Periscope, Google services and Bing during assembly sessions.