Venezuela: Guaido’s deputy’s detainment illegal, says Pompeo

View of the vehicle carrying vice president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Edgar Zambrano

On Wednesday, Edgar Zambrano, the opposition-run National Assembly's vice president, said he had been arrested by intelligence agents.

He said Thursday that the arrest of National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano and probes against several other lawmakers are an attempt to "silence the voice of Venezuelans".

"The arbitrary arrest yesterday evening of Edgar Zambrano, First Vice President of Venezuela's National Assembly, is an unacceptable and illegal act that is yet another reflection of the repression of the former Maduro regime", Pompeo said in a statement.

"They are trying to destroy the power representing all Venezuelans, but they will not achieve it", Guaido said.

'We were surprised by the SEBIN, and after refusing to let us leave our vehicle, they used a tow truck to forcibly transfer us directly to the (SEBIN headquarters) Helicoide, ' he said. The auto was towed, with him inside, to Caracas' notorious El Helicoide prison, the Guardian reports.

The opposition says Maduro has stacked the court with his own supporters, while the USA government this week threatened to sanction all its members.

Along with the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru protested his arrest while the European Union said it was "another flagrant violation of the country's constitution".

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Attorney General Tarek William Saab says the clashes left six people dead.

The Supreme Court had earlier accused the politicians of conspiracy, rebellion and treason.

Venezuela was plunged into turmoil in January when Juan Guaido declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Nicolas Maduro's authority.

The judicial measure against Zambrano was dictated after he was apprehended once his parliamentary immunity had been raided by the National Constituent Assembly, and by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic, for being implicated in the attempted coup d'état.

Guaido said in a speech after the first indictments on Tuesday that the government's "only response.is to persecute, because they no longer govern, because they no longer have command".

Venezuela has suffered five years of recession that has seen more than 2.7 million people flee poverty, hyperinflation, food shortages and insecurity since 2015, according to United Nations figures.

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