Speed Reads

unrest in venezuela

Venezuelan president, amid demands to resign, calls for a new constitution

Speaking to supporters at a May Day rally Monday in Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the country needs a new constitution in order to restore peace. "I don't want a civil war," he said.

Maduro has triggered an article of the current constitution that reforms all public powers, The Guardian reports, and he claimed he did this in order "to achieve the peace needed by the republic, defeat the fascist coup, and let the sovereign people impose peace, harmony, and true national dialogue." Opposition leaders do not agree with this move, and believe it's a way to further sideline the National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition.

Protests first broke out in March after the country's top court, which supports Maduro and his government, took over the powers of congress. The court reversed this decision quickly, but the move sparked protests by hundreds of thousands of people calling for early elections and Maduro's resignation; the demonstrators are also angry over the country's recession and lack of food and medicine. Since the unrest began, 29 people have been killed.