re clashes in the streets of Caracas. Molotov cocktail-throwing Venezuelans, breathing tear gas and rainstorms, violently clashing with security forces. And blocking streets in the capital in the lead-up to Sunday's controversial vote for a legislative super body. They're protesting the upcoming election of a constituent assembly that critics call a plan by President Nicolas Maduro to create a dictatorship.
Reuters correspondent Hugh Bronstein is in Caracas.>> On Sunday, there's going to be an election that has about 6,000 candidates for a constituent assembly that is going to have the responsibility of rewriting the constitution. That new constitution is going to have the power to do whatever it wants, basically, with the country's institutions, which is exactly what these protestors are afraid of.
In the constituent assembly, none of the members are going to be from the opposition. Which is another reason why the international community is so concerned about the process of rewriting the constitution here in Venezuela. There has been protest from human rights groups, like Human Rights Watch, governments across the world.
The Columbian airline Avianca has suspended all of its service to Venezuela. The fact that the biggest airline in Columbia's no longer going to be servicing Venezuela is a major problem for Venezuela, and it's a major political statement.>> The political crisis in the OPEC nation exacerbating a crippling economic crisis.
Venezuelans have been protesting against Maduro to demand he respect the current opposition-led congress. And resolve chronic food and medicine shortages that have fueled malnutrition and health problems. Opposition demonstrators said urgency was increasing as they set up barricades along the main roads in Caracas. Pelted by sheets of rain and tear gas canisters fired by police, dozens were were arrested.
Confrontations with security forces, which have left more than one-hundred ten dead over the last four months, have been constrained lately by a government ban on demonstrations leading up to Sunday's vote. But opposition leaders say they plan to defy the ban.