US & Canada

News this week: Venezuela is in crisis

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Media captionThe arrest of opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo López has been widely condemned

The international community is voicing growing concern over the situation in Venezuela following Sunday's controversial vote for a new constituent assembly.

The company that provided the voting system alleges that the turnout for the vote was far lower than the eight million reported by the Latin American country's electoral authorities reported. A probe into those allegations has been opened.

On Tuesday, opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, who had been under house arrest, were taken to a military prison. Ledezma was later returned to house arrest after spending three days in jail.

The US has imposed sanctions and the EU has condemned the vote.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed concern over the detention of Ledezma and López and has called for their immediate release.

There has been a wave of near daily anti-government protests and dozens of people have been killed in protest-related violence since April, amid food shortages and an economic crisis.

Tensions ratcheted up after a surprise announcement by the Supreme Court on 29 March that it was taking over the powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

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