US judge orders release of activists detained from Venezuela’s embassy in Washington

Washington: A US judge on Friday ordered the release of four activists who were detained by US authorities from the premises of the Venezuelan embassy here on Thursday morning.

Embassy Protection Collective activists started living inside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC from April 10 in a bid to prevent the United States and Juan Guaido-led government from seizing the premises in the wake of a political crisis in the South American nation.

Tensions between the United States and the Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro-led authorities are high since earlier this year when Washington recognised Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the official interim President of the South American nation. Maduro has accused the US of plotting a coup to oust him from power, labelling Guaido as a US “puppet”.

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US Secret Service agents forcibly entered the embassy on Monday, ordering all activists to leave the premises or face prosecution and imprisonment. The four activists who ignored the threats and continued to remain there were detained by the law enforcement officials.

The collective’s legal counsel, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, outlined that the US had not charged the four activists with trespassing, according to Sputnik.

Identified as Kevin Zeese, Adrienne Pine, Margaret Flowers, and David Paul, the four activists appeared in a federal courthouse in Washington on Friday. They were charged with “interference with certain protective functions,” and are scheduled to reappear in court on June 12.


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