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Venezuela assembly starts with warning to foes

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 17:16:13-04

Former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has delivered a stern warning to government opponents in her first remarks as head of the special assembly rewriting Venezuela's constitution.

In her words, the "violent fascists, who are waging economic war on the people" will face justice.  The country has been rocked by months of street protests against what the opposition sees as an increasingly authoritarian socialist government.

Her words were greeted with loud applause from the 545 pro-government delegates who had just begun meeting Friday for the first time.

Rodriguez said the all-powerful assembly will commence work Saturday.

She didn't say what lies ahead, but some fellow delegates have been pledging to target opposition lawmakers and remove chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega from office as part of their first order of business.

Ortega is a former loyalist who recently broke with President Nicolas Maduro, accusing him of breaking Venezuela's democratic order.