REEVES: The assembly's members will be chosen using rules created to sideline Maduro's opponents.
Opposition says that would cement Maduro's dictatorship in Venezuela. He noted that anyone organizing or participating in assemblies could face between five and ten years in prison, but did not specify whether this ban would continue following the election scheduled for Monday.
"We will not kneel; we will not fail".
Opposition leaders have said they are willing to talk only if Sunday's vote is postponed.
The EU, UN and heavyweight nations in the Organization of American States have all also urged Maduro to drop his controversial plan.
An election to the constituent assembly has been called for this Sunday. In contrast, the United States' money supply is up 5.5 percent in the same period.
"We urge the authorities to manage any protests against the Constituent Assembly in line with global human rights norms and standards", Elisabeth Throssell, spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement Friday. "That is why it is fundamental to go out and vote for the Constituent Assembly, which will foster reunification, reconciliation and dialogue with all people", said the Venezuelan Head of State, adding that we are in "the time of dream and hope".
The US placed several sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials that the USA says are undermining democracy, along with five others implicated in violence or repression, amid the country's political crisis.
In the eastern neighborhood of Bello Monte, the site of fierce battles with police in recent days, a 54-year-old shop owner named Ricardo watched masked adolescents block a road with dumpsters as a soot-smeared, emaciated man picked through their contents for bits of food.
That's unlikely, however, as the opposition has said it won't negotiate unless the constituent assembly is canceled. Protests against Maduro have been going on since the end of March.
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While the opposition boycotts the vote, calling the new body unconstitutional, government supporters challenge its decision to abstain. Most members of the new assembly are to be elected in open municipal votes, while others will be elected by members of certain social and industry groups (like students, pensioners or workers).
Maduro did not ask whether Venezuelans actually wanted to replace their constitution, however.
"What happens if they impose the Constituent Assembly?"
For months, violence has spiraled out of control as the struggle for food and medicine grows. The unprecedented ruling transferred legislative powers to the Supreme Court, which is comprised of judges nominated by Maduro.
Four months of protests against Mr.
The state prosecutor's office said late on Friday 18-year-old Gustavo Villamizar had become the latest victim of protest violence. That means a state like Miranda, population almost 3 million, will get four fewer delegates than Falcon, which is home to about 1 million people.
Many streets remained barricaded and deserted on Thursday during the second day of a nationwide work stoppage. Across the city, residents said they wanted President Nicolas Maduro out of power but didn't want to risk their lives or livelihoods taking on his socialist government and its backers. How the government determined who qualifies in each category has not been disclosed, but all of those sectors traditionally have strong ties to Chavez and Maduro's leftist political movement. Under constitutional changes Chavez ushered in, presidents can run for an unlimited number of six-year terms.
The protests and strikes were part of an opposition strategy to force Maduro from power through early elections.
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