Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Tuesday said the country's parliament building was illegally seized by forces loyal to President Nicolás Maduro, under the pretext of investigating a bomb scare.
Venezuelan military and police forces loyal to Maduro took over the National Assembly building Tuesday morning responding to the alleged bomb threat, Reuters reported.
Guaidó, who as head of the National Assembly claims to be the legitimate president of Venezuela, said on Twitter that Maduro "believes power is in a building, a file cabinet, a keychain."
"The power they once had they lost when they lost the people," added Guaidó. "And this [National Assembly] was elected by the people and will defend its legitimacy!"
The National Assembly is the only internationally recognized, democratically elected Venezuelan state institution.
Its legislative powers are not recognized by the Maduro and his supporters, who consider the National Constituent Assembly the country's legislative branch.
Maduro created the National Constituent Assembly in 2017 after opposition lawmakers won a 2015 election for control of the National Assembly.
The National Assembly was due to discuss Tuesday the recent arrests of opposition figures, in the wake of a failed opposition uprising last month.
“This is all part of a show to prevent the National Assembly from functioning,” said opposition lawmaker Juan Pablo Guanipa, according to Reuters. “This is a dictatorship that goes after dissidents, and we are fighting for a political change.”