#Venezuela's #Constitutional Assembly declared itself "superior to all other branches of government" in Caracas on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.

The government-sponsored Constitutional Assembly passed the decree in the Federal Legislative Palace, the chamber where the National Assembly, the Venezuelan congress, met on Monday. Tuesday was the third meeting for the Constitutional Assembly. The opposition-controlled National Assembly and other government agencies are prohibited from overruling or interfering with the Constitutional Assembly's legislation, per the decree.

Constitutional Assembly

The Constitutional Assembly has also been called the National Electoral Council and the National Constituent Assembly.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro established the Constitutional Assembly, and 545 delegates were elected on July 30. Allies of Maduro believed the assembly would be used to target opposition leaders and create an autocracy, The Washington Post said. Maduro gave the assembly power over all branches of government and wants the assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Opposition leaders and foreign governments refuse to recognize the assembly. The United States Department of State does not recognize the special assembly and called it an "illegitimate product of a flawed process designed by the Maduro dictatorship to further its assault on democracy."

Mexico, Canada, and Argentina are among the 17 Western Hemisphere countries whose foreign ministers condemned the creation of the assembly Tuesday evening.

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The foreign ministers met in Peru to discuss Venezuela's unrest and encourage negotiations between Maduro's government and the opposition party, the Associated Press reported.

Government accountability

Blasting News previously covered the civil unrest in Venezuela following a helicopter attack on the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry in June.

The Constitutional Assembly fired public prosecutor and former Maduro ally, Luisa Ortega, on Monday. Ortega was the Venezuelan equivalent of the US Attorney General and was a vocal critic of Maduro, NPR reported. She served as a check on the Maduro government and her office exposed several corruption scandals, including National Guard members abusing protesters.

The Supreme Court fired Mayor Ramon Muchacho of Chacao, Caracas' richest district, on Tuesday. Muchacho was sentenced to 15 months in prison for refusing to remove protester barricades, NPR reported. The barricades separated protesters from traffic, and the Supreme Court said they hindered transit in Chacao.

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Muchacho believes in "guaranteeing the legitimate right to peaceful protest and the right of all Venezuelans to exercise their civil and political rights." He is one of four opposition mayors to be arrested by the court.

More than 120 people have died in protests since April, the United Nations said. Pro-government and government-sponsored groups and security forces are responsible for at least 73 of those deaths, NPR reported. The United Nations condemned the "widespread and systematic use of excessive force" against protesters on Tuesday.