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2017 was a tumultuous year for Venezuela. 125 people were killed in anti-government protests against President Nicholas Maduro, but he weathered the storm and remains as president. For Reuter's, I'm Brian Ellsworth. The protest began in late March, when the pro-government Supreme Court announced it was gonna take over the functions of the opposition-run legislature.
That brought people flooding into the streets. There was a massive popular revolt. People soon started protesting against other things, like the economy, the triple digit inflation, the constant product shortages, the shortages of medicine, of food. It was a uniting event for the opposition. You could see medical brigades were popping up that would start helping people that were injured in the crackdown by security forces.
Or you could also see crowd funding efforts abroad, where people were trying to raise money for protesters who needed to buy gas masks. All around the world people were watching these images of National Guard Troops and police savagely beating protesters, and in some cases even killing them, but the protest started to die down by the summer.
Protesters and opposition demonstrators were tired of streets being blocked all the time, of not being able to get anywhere. In late July, the government held an election to create an all powerful assembly called the Constituent Assembly. That was described by countries around the world as the consolidation of a dictatorship.