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World

Helicopter Drops Grenades On Venezuelan Supreme Court

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The chaos in Venezuela now extends to the skies over the capital. Yesterday a helicopter appeared over Caracas. Someone inside allegedly opened fire on a government building, and people took cell phone video as the pilot dropped what appeared to be hand grenades.

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All of this happened on an afternoon when pro-government protesters surrounded the National Assembly. Tanks were spotted driving around the presidential palace. President Nicolas Maduro is under constant pressure for a wrecked economy and for dismantling democratic obstacles to his rule. In a video statement, Maduro condemned the attack.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO: (Through interpreter) And be certain that sooner than later, we are going to capture the helicopter and those who have perpetrated this armed terrorist attack.

INSKEEP: Now, a person calling himself Oscar Perez took credit or responsibility for the helicopter attack in an online video flanked by armed and masked men.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OSCAR PEREZ: (Through interpreter) Today we are deploying resources via air and land with the sole purpose of giving power back to the democratic people and, in that way, to fulfill the law and to reestablish the constitutional order.

MARTIN: Perez claimed to represent a coalition of military police and civilians. The attack is just the latest violent incident in Venezuela where protests have killed more than 70 people.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAKOB'S "SAFETY IN NUMBERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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