Venezuela illegally seizes auto plant: General Motors

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There, he asked officers to allow the protesters to assemble peacefully, and held out a Bible.

However, crowds were smaller than the hundreds of thousands of people who flooded the streets of Caracas and provincial cities on Wednesday, the latest and largest in several weeks of protests against what Maduro's opponents condemn as a lurch toward dictatorship.

Maduro deployed the Venezuelan armed forces to the streets on Sunday night amid rising tensions. It was unclear how many people remained in custody.

Fifty-four children were evacuated from a hospital in the neighborhood.

Two-time opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has blamed Maduro, the army, and the national guard for the violence. There was no immediate reaction from Washington or Venezuela's government.

A man shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

GM said Thursday that its only factory in Venezuela was confiscated a day earlier, as anti-government protesters clashed with authorities in a country that is roiled by economic troubles.

"This government has done nothing but violate the human rights of Venezuelans", a MUD spokesperson said during a Thursday press conference, as quoted by El Nacional.

The opposition has called for a "march of silence" in all parts of the country on Saturday and a national road blockage on Monday.

Government supporters and security forces succeeded Wednesday in blocking marchers from reaching certain parts of the city, according to observers.

GM's Venezuelan subsidiary, General Motors Venezolana (GMV), has operated in that country for almost 70 years.

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Hundreds of workers desperate for information about their jobs gathered at the plant Thursday to meet with government and military officials, as well as representatives of the dealership that brought the lawsuit.

GM has had a presence in Venezuela since 1948, according to the company, and employed 2,678 workers at its Valencia factory and another 3,900 people at dozens of dealerships around the country.

General Motors has become the latest multinational to exit Venezuela after it said its plant in the country was illegally seized by the government this week.

A growing number are taking their Venezuelan operations out off their consolidated accounts.

To this day, the Chinese government continues to censor that image - one that much of the world regards as a symbol of the "pro-democracy protests in the country at the time".

On the same day when this facility was seized, anti-government protesters conflicted with the authorities in a nation that going through economic problems like triple-digit inflation and food shortages.

It calls on Venezuelan authorities to respect rights and "retake the path of democratic institutionality", release political prisoners and set dates for elections, among other things. The government last year abruptly postponed regional elections that the opposition was heavily favored to win and it cut off a petition drive aimed at forcing a referendum seeking Maduro's removal before elections scheduled for late next year.

In recent days, Maduro ordered troops to fan out around the country on high alert, and he encouraged his backers, including civilian militia members, to defend against alleged plans to overthrow his government.

Later Thursday, Maduro said he had called for an investigation into cellphone operator Movistar on accusations that it was part of the "coup-minded march" organized by adversaries of his government.

The current wave of marches, the most sustained protests against Maduro since 2014, has sparked regular melees.

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