Authorities order activists to leave Venezuelan Embassy in DC

Authorities order activists to leave Venezuelan Embassy in DC
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Authorities in Washington, D.C., reportedly served activists holed up in the Venezuelan Embassy with an eviction notice on Monday as the Trump administration seeks to turn control of the facility over to officials loyal to Juan Guaidó, the self-declared interim ruler of the country.

The Associated Press reported that an eviction notice was served to activists who have been living in the building for days, while pro-Guaidó protesters and others supporting the country's current president, Nicolás Maduro, chanted slogans and waved signs outside.

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A State Department official confirmed to CNN that the Trump administration was working to oust the activists, who are part of the antiwar advocacy group Code Pink, though it was reportedly unclear which law enforcement agency was involved in enforcing the order.

In a statement released on Twitter, Maduro's foreign affairs secretary blasted the U.S.'s decision to turn control of the facility over to forces supporting the opposition government.

"The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not authorized the entry of police officers into the former Embassy building in Washington. This intrusion is yet another violation of international law by U.S. authorities and an aggression against Venezuela," Carlos Ron wrote on Twitter.

Code Pink activists called the eviction notice illegal on Twitter, noting that the United Nations had not recognized Guaidó as the country's legitimate ruler, despite the Trump administration and several allies of the U.S. doing so.

"Carlos Vecchio, Gustavo Tarre, and Juan Guaidó are not legitimate leaders. The UN does not recognize their fake government. This notice blatantly violates the Vienna Convention," activists wrote.

"[F]our brave protectors remain inside the Venezuelan embassy risking arrest as they have been [illegally] ordered by authorities to leave. It is unclear if the authorities plan to hand over the building to Vecchio and the fake gov’t—or if they will simply hold onto it," the organization continued.

In a statement to The Hill, a State Department official said that the U.S. recognized Guaidó's government as the legitimate rulers of Venezuela, and said that any people on the premises without the consent of that government were trespassing.

“The Venezuelan government, led by Interim President Juan Guaidó, has legal authority over the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. Any unauthorized individuals on the property are trespassers. Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Carlos Vecchio has requested U.S. assistance in clearing the embassy of trespassers," the official said.

"As a result of Ambassador Vecchio's request, further action is being taken, and the unauthorized occupants are being informed by law enforcement that they are trespassing on the embassy property," the official continued. "Until the trespassers are gone, no individuals will be permitted to enter the embassy. We have no additional comment at this time about this law enforcement matter.”

Updated at 8:45 a.m.