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Juan Guaido storms Venezuelan parliament, is sworn in as leader

Juan Guaido storms Venezuelan parliament, is sworn in as leader
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido was sworn in as the head of the country's National Assembly after he stormed the parliamentary building with supporters on Tuesday. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and a group of his supporters stormed the country's parliament building on Tuesday to reclaim his role as president of the National Assembly.

Guaido and about 100 diplomatic supporters pushed past guards outside the building to hold a vote to recognize him as the head of the National Assembly for 2020, days after assembly members who support embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro voted in their own head, lawmaker Luis Parra.

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"From Venezuela, we know that for the international community it's complex to understand what's happening in our country," Guaido said. "Today, the National Assembly diplomats, elected by the vote of the people, defeated the legislative coup attempt orchestrated by the dictatorship and their accomplices."

Upon entering the parliament building, Guaido took a microphone as opposition lawmakers sang the national anthem before the vote.

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At one point electricity in the building was shut off. Lawmakers read the attendance prior to the vote by the light of their cellphones and without the use of microphones.

Maduro's government elected and swore in Parra on Sunday in a vote widely described as a coup after security forces loyal to the president blocked Guaido and other opposition members on the National Assembly from entering the building.

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The opposition later held its own election in which they re-elected Guaido to another term as head of the National Assembly with a vote tally of 100-0, stating they had "defeated the dictatorship" in doing so.

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Guido declared himself the country's interim president in January of last year, calling Maduro's rule illegitimate. Guaido has since received the backing of dozens of nations including the United States, which have since stated they will not recognize Parra as the head of the parliamentary body.

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