Venezuela's Ousted Attorney General Retreats on a Motorbike

Venezuela's currency the Bolivar has crumbled amid the political unrest in the country

A controversial new Venezuelan assembly packed with allies of unpopular president Nicolas Maduro held its first session, deepening a rift with the opposition and in the teeth of worldwide criticism from the United States, the European Union and major Latin American nations calling it illegitimate.

"Several minutes ago, Antonio was unexpectedly returned by the Sebin (intelligence agency) to our home", Mitzy Capriles de Ledezma tweeted.

The all-powerful body supersedes the opposition controlled National Assembly.

That claim was apparently backed by a British-based company involved in the vote, Smartmatic, which said the official turnout figure had been "tampered with" and exaggerated.

Subsequent US sanctions directly targeted Maduro.

Luisa Ortega says troops pushed and "attacked" her with their riot shields to prevent her from accessing the headquarters of the public ministry.

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As part of its Saturday session, the assembly pledged to take over the entire legislative palace - a move meant to keep the sitting parliament out.

The 545-member constituent assembly is made up entirely of pro-government loyalists after the opposition boycotted the vote as unconstitutional.

Leaders of the opposition urged Venezuelans to fill the streets of the capital Friday, hoping to provide a strong showing that many people object to the assembly.

On Friday, the body took over an ornate chamber under a golden dome in the Legislative Palace in Caracas - at the far end of a building shared with the opposition-run legislature, the National Assembly.

Maduro, who has said he will use the Assembly to punish his opponents, planned to attend the opening session.

Moments later, the new national constituent assembly announced Ortega's ouster.

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Although the sanctions are not meant to affect the Venezuelan people, the economist and pollster Luis Vicente León warned that the effects of the political instability would hit the average citizen hard.

Venezuela's contested new assembly fired the country's dissident attorney general, Luisa Ortega, on Saturday and ordered her to go on trial in a move sure to further inflame global criticism of the leftist government.

The national constituent assembly also declared that Ortega Diaz can not leave the country and that her assets have been frozen.

The election for the assembly Rodriguez will head occurred amid months of anti-government protests that have left more than 110 dead.

The Vatican statement called for a negotiated solution following the same guidelines the Vatican set out previous year when it brokered talks between the government and the opposition which later broke down.

On Friday, the OAS' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had ordered Venezuela to protect Ortega, saying her life was at risk after she launched an investigation into the legality of the Constituent Assembly.

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The controversial assembly charged with rewriting Venezuela's constitution has gotten to work, and its first act of business was selecting former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez to lead the body. The new decision will make it harder for the country to return to good standing since the new suspension can be lifted only when the bloc is satisfied that Venezuela has restored democratic order.

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