Speed Reads

civil disobedience

Venezuelan opposition holds unofficial protest vote

After more than 100 days of protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the country's constitution to consolidate his own power, opposition leaders have organized a symbolic referendum Sunday to undermine Maduro's legitimacy.

Voters willing to participate in the national act of civil disobedience can head to one of 2,000 polling places set up for the occasion to weigh in on three questions: Do they reject the constitutional rewrite; should the military defend the existing government structure; and should an early election be called before 2018, the scheduled end of Maduro's current term?

Maduro dismissed the vote as "illegal and meaningless," Reuters reports, but participants believe high turnout will send a message their president can't ignore. "The reality of tomorrow will be very different from that of today," said opposition organizer and National Assembly leader Julio Borges Sunday. Read The Week's breakdown of Venezuela's descent into chaos here.