Venezuelans appear to abstain from government vote

Ariana Cubillos, Associated Press

Journalists take cover from tear gase fired at them by the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard during clashes at Altamira square in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 30, 2017. Venezuelans appear to be abstaining in massive numbers in a show of silent protest against a vote to select a constitutional assembly giving the government virtually unlimited powers. Across the capital on Sunday, dozens of polling places were empty or had a few dozens or hundreds of people outside, orders of magnitude less than the turnout in recent elections.

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelans appeared to be abstaining in massive numbers on Sunday in a show of silent protest against a vote to select a constitutional assembly giving the government virtually unlimited powers.

Associated Press journalists toured more than two dozen polling places in neighborhoods across the capital, including many traditional strongholds of the ruling socialist party in southern and western Caracas. Virtually all the polling places saw hours-long lines of thousands of people in past elections over the last two decades of socialist government.

One site, a sports and cultural complex known as the Poliedro, had several thousand people waiting about two hours to vote, many having traveled from opposition-dominated neighborhoods where polling places were closed. Of the dozens of others sites seen by the AP,…

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