New Venezuela assembly sacks government critic Luisa Ortega

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Venezuela’s new constituent assembly has voted to sack top prosecutor Luisa Ortega, during its first day of work.

Ortega, a vocal critic of left-wing President Nicolás Maduro, had opposed the assembly’s inauguration on Friday, citing allegations of voting fraud.

Security forces have surrounded her office in the capital Caracas, in what she has called a “siege”.

Maduro says the new body is needed to bring peace after months of protests sparked by economic hardship.

On Saturday the assembly – which is dominated by government supporters – decided to remove Ortega from office in a unanimous vote.

Earlier, dozens of National Guard officers in riot gear took up position around her office. Sharing pictures of the scene, she tweeted: “I reject the siege of the headquarters of the public prosecutor’s office”.

“I denounce this arbitrary act before the national and international community,” she added.

The Maduro government’s action against Luisa Ortega has been swift and ruthless.

She awoke to find her offices had been surrounded by the national guard in riot gear. A little later it was confirmed she had been removed from her post and replaced by a Maduro loyalist, Tarek William Saab.

She herself has taken to social media to issue an appeal to the international community and spoke to journalists who mobbed her for comment to denounce the move.

She said it was motivated by a desire to evade ongoing corruption investigations led by her office.

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