NEWS

Helicopter Drops Grenades On Venezuela Supreme Court In Anti-Maduro Attack

The aircraft fired shots at the Interior Ministry and four grenades on the Supreme Court, according to Reuters.

28/06/2017 09:58 SAST | Updated 28/06/2017 09:58 SAST

A police helicopter in Venezuela on Tuesday fired 15 shots at the country's interior ministry and dropped four grenades on its Supreme Court in what President Nicolas Maduro has called an attempted coup by "terrorists", according to Reuters on Wednesday.

Officials said scores of people were at a social event at the interior ministry when shots were fired, and judges were meeting in the Supreme Court when grenades were dropped, Reuters reported on Wednesday. No injuries were reported from the shootings.

Maduro lambasted the attack, saying they would capture the helicopter "sooner or later" along with the parties "behind the attack against the institutions of this country," Maduro said.

According to Reuters, a government communique claimed the helicopter was stolen by investigative police pilot and self-declared rebel against Maduro, Oscar Perez.

On Tuesday evening, Perez posted videos on his Instagram account standing in front of several armed men, criticising "a vile... criminal government" and saying an operation was underway to restore democracy.

The oil-rich South American nation has witnessed months of protests from opposition leaders and citizens amid an ailing economy and deep political crisis. Dissent within government and security forces has also grown.

According to Reuters, at least 75 people have died and hundreds arrested and injured since April. Protests have lamented the sharp decline of a once-prosperous economy, demanding general elections and the release of incarcerated activists. Maduro says demonstrators have sought a coup against him backed by the U.S. government hoping to gain control of the largest oil reserves in the world located in Venezuela.