Maduro announces closure of Venezuela embassy in US, as death toll hits 26

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President Nicolas Maduro announced on Thursday the closure of Venezuela’s embassy and consulates in the United States having broken off diplomatic ties with President Donald Trump’s government the day before.

Maduro made the call during a special session at the Supreme Court in which he accused the US of pushing opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself Venezuela’s acting president on Wednesday, into attempting a coup d’etat.

Meanwhile, 26 people have been killed since the latest wave of protests against President Maduro broke out four days ago, the Caracas-based Observatory of Social Conflict said on Thursday.

The previous toll from the protests — which began when a group of soldiers took over a command post in the north of the capital in defiance of the socialist regime — had stood at 16.

In some places, armed forces have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to subdue protesters, some of whom threw stones.

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