‘Violation of Vienna Convention’: Code Pink co-founder denounces police raid on Venezuela embassy
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The decision by US authorities to break into Venezuela’s Washington, DC embassy and arrest anti-coup activists on Wednesday is a clear violation of international law, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told RT.
A group calling itself the ‘Embassy Protection Collective’ has been under siege inside the building for weeks, as supporters of Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido called for their removal.
Benjamin told RT that Code Pink, an anti-war activist group, received “an urgent call” from members of the ‘Collective’ on Wednesday morning saying “police had broken down the door and that they were going to be arrested.”
She denounced police action as a violation of the Vienna Convention“because the group has been in there with the permission of the Venezuelan government.” US authorities had previously cut off power to the embassy in an effort to force activists to leave.
Benjamin said the best way to protect both the US embassy in Caracas and the Venezuelan embassy in DC was for the two governments to sign a “Protecting Power Agreement” — something Venezuela’s ambassador has been calling for at the United Nations.
BREAKING NEWS: Police arrested the 4 people remaining in the Venezuela Embassy as part of the #EmbassyProtectionCollective. Total violation of Vienna Conventions. Shameful!!!
— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) May 16, 2019
Benjamin said the break-in by police could be a “a tremendous step toward greater conflict with the US” if Guaido’s representatives are now allowed to enter the building.
The Trump administration recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s self-declared “interim president” in January and helped organize two failed coup attempts against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, which it brands “illegitimate.”
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Asked why anti-intervention activists inside the building had ignored police warnings before Wednesday’s raid, Benjamin said the warning to vacate was an “illegal notice.”
“It was not signed by anybody, it had no address on it, it had no stamp on it or anything,” she said. What’s more, she added, the “legitimate government” of Venezuela had invited the activists inside and Code Pink does not comply with “illegal orders.”
She said activists will keep rallying outside the embassy and “will be continuing to protest this and to call on the embassy to be left empty and not be handed over to the opposition and for the Protecting Power Agreement to be signed.”
“We don’t consider this chapter over yet,” Benjamin said, calling on the US to “dial down this crisis, lift the economic sanctions [on Venezuela]” and “come to a negotiated solution.”
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