Statement by Foreign Minister Gabriel on the attack on the Venezuelan National Assembly

06.07.2017 - Press release

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (6 July) on the attack on the Venezuelan National Assembly:

Parliament is the heart of any democracy. We therefore condemn the attack on the Venezuelan National Assembly during which several opposition members of parliament were injured and a large number of employees were threatened, robbed and detained for several hours. We share the view of our partners in Europe and Latin America that this attack once again causes severe harm to Venezuela’s democratic and constitutional order. There is no justification for the state police not protecting the parliament.

We expect the Venezuelan authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and the Government to do everything in its power to protect the safety and physical integrity of all members of parliament.

It is now up to the Government to act. The political crisis can only be resolved by negotiations. The spiral of violence can only be halted if the Government upholds democratic principles such as the separation of powers and freedom of assembly.

We call on all political powers in Venezuela to overcome the ideological divides, to prevent further bloodshed and to resume the dialogue that broke down last year.

Background information:

On 5 July, Venezuelan National Day, a group of armed men stormed the seat of the National Assembly, which had convened for a ceremony to mark the 206th anniversary of Venezuela’s independence. Several members of parliament were injured, and a large number of administrative employees were threatened with violence and robbed. The members of parliament were detained for eight hours. Police officers at the scene did not intervene. President Maduro has condemned the act, but at the same time has blamed the opposition for the attack. The opposition describes the attack as attempted intimidation. Around 90 people have been killed in the nationwide clashes between opposition supporters and the state security forces that have been ongoing since early April.

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