Venezuela's supreme court reverses ruling

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks with first lady Cilia Flores as they arrive to the Supreme Court before delivering his state of the union address in Caracas Venezuela. Venezuela's Supreme Cou

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks with first lady Cilia Flores as they arrive to the Supreme Court before delivering his state of the union address in Caracas Venezuela. Venezuela's Supreme Cou

A defiant Maduro defended the Supreme Court in an appearance on state television and said the opposition would be left with "their cold champagne, uncorked".

The government, though, was probably also seeking to further disempower the opposition as it made head roads turning worldwide opinion against Mr Maduro.

"I'm ready with whoever is willing", he said.

Dark days in Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro has made his most blatant power grab to date in a move that looks set to create an unvarnished dictatorship in the oil rich country. Venezuela's Supreme Court Wednesday, . However the sight of the normally loyal Attorney General, Luisa Ortega, openly criticising the move as unconstitutional was for many observers a turning point, and perhaps evidence of a wider split within "Chavismo". Venezuelans have been thrust into a new round of political turbulence after the go.

"Russians, Chinese and Venezuelans are interested in entering the business", Elias Matta, an opposition legislator and member of the National Assembly's oil committee, said in an interview, adding that state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA has oil blocks ready for development as it seeks to turn around declining production.

"It constitutes a rupture of the constitutional order".

The Supreme Court, which has consistently supported President Nicolás Maduro's administration, said it would assume congressional duties for as long as the legislature remained "in contempt" of past court rulings.

"We have reached an important agreement to solve this controversy", Maduro said in a national TV and radio broadcast.

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The National Security Council meeting began hours later, but with at least one key detractor absent. Maduro's opponents had called on Venezuelans to take to the streets on Sunday and urged the army to abandon him.

Maduro is reported to have hailed the emergency meeting as a "constitutional victory" and said the month of April was starting on a good step for his country. Colombia called back its ambassador Friday for consultations.

South American regional bloc Mercosur - which suspended Venezuela in December - will hold crisis talks Saturday, Argentina announced.

"Let's be absolutely clear", said Freddy Guevara, first vice president of the National Assembly.

"Continued restrictions on the freedoms of movement, association, expression and peaceful protest are not only deeply worrying but counter-productive in an extremely polarised country suffering economic and social crises", Zeid said.

National Assembly President Julio Borges balls up Supreme Court documents ruling that it can take over responsibilities assigned to congress, during a press conference at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, March 30. But Maduro's socialist government has blocked efforts to move up elections scheduled for next year or to convene a referendum on his leadership. We consider it a serious setback for democracy in Venezuela.

In Caracas, national guardsmen in riot gear fired buckshot and swung batons at students who gathered outside the Supreme Court. Several protesters were arrested and some journalists covering the demonstration had their cameras seized by the police before the group reassembled elsewhere.

Pushback to the controversial decision was expected from the opposition and discontented citizens, some of whom took to the streets of Caracas on Friday.

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