BRASILIA – A group of people backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido occupied the nation’s embassy in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, on Wednesday.
An official from President Nicolas Maduro’s government said some 20 people forcibly invaded the embassy early Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak publicly.
The Venezuelan representative to Brazil named by Guaido said in a statement that embassy employees opened the gates to let sympathizers in.
Brazil and more than 50 other nations recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
At least two left-leaning Brazilian lawmakers were also within the embassy. Some 20 Brazilian military police officers were stationed outside, where Brazilian sympathizers from both sides of the political spectrum argued with one another and had several physical altercations.
Security forces were trying to resolve the situation peacefully, according to a statement from the Brazilian president’s institutional security office. The statement said President Jair Bolsonaro had no knowledge of the group’s plans to occupy the embassy.
Wednesday is the first day of the Brazil-hosted summit for BRICS nations, which also include Russia, India, China and South Africa. Brazil is the only one of those countries to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s leader.