CARACAS, Venezuela, June 19 (UPI) -- Eight Brazilian senators were forced to flee Venezuela after their minibus was attacked on their way to visit Venezuelan opposition leaders.
The group was forced to return to Caracas airport Thursday after their path was blocked by people throwing stones at the bus.
"Our bus was under siege; they were beating and trying to break it," said Sen. Ronaldo Caiado. "I filmed them throwing stones against the bus."
Former Brazilian presidential candidate Aecio Neves tweeted: "We are in Caracas, on a public road. Our van is being attacked by protesters."
Estamos em Caracas, sitiados em uma via pública. Nossa van foi atacada por manifestantes.— Aécio Neves (@AecioNeves) June 18, 2015
Sen. Ricardo Ferraço, was upset that "the mission" to meet with political prisoners was not accomplished due to the protest.
The senators were attempting to see Leopoldo Lopez, accused of arson and disturbing the peace, as well as other Venezuelan opposition leaders being held in jail for protesting against the Venezuelan government.
"We are leaving here with profound sadness because we couldn't complete our mission, as the government of [President] Nicolas Maduro prevented our solidarity mission to visit the persecuted political prisoners," he said. "We are deeply shocked by the authoritarianism and the rudeness with which we were received. Our message to Venezuela is resist, resist, resist.... a hug to all Venezuelans; keep the faith and resist, because democracy will soon be restored."
The senators are not the only individuals who have been denied visitation privileges to the Ramo Verde military jail, where Lopez is being held. Former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and former President of Colombia Andres Pastrana have also been turned down.
Luis Beltran Franco, another Venezuelan opposition politician, expressed his disappointment on Twitter.
"They prefer international condemnation to allowing a visit to see Leopoldo Lopez and other prisoners," he said. "What are they hiding?"
El gobierno prefiere la condena internacional que permitir la visita a @leopoldolopez y demás presos políticos .!Que esconde?— Luis Beltran Franco (@luisbeltranf) June 19, 2015
Caiado said he had been shown a text sent to Lopez's wife from Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza disregarding the safety of the Brazilian senators.
"If the senators are here, it means they don't have much work to do there... You should have a coffee," the text read.
Jorge Arreaza, vice da Venezuela, enviou para Lilian Tintori, mulher de Leopoldo López, mensagem debochada. pic.twitter.com/09AmRTrye8— Ronaldo Caiado (@SenadorCaiado) June 19, 2015
The Brazilian foreign ministry said Thursday that "hostile acts against its politicians were unacceptable and promised to seek an explanation from Venezuela."