Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman, reporting from the capital, Caracas, said that it was "sad and bloody day in Venezuela". From that moment on, Venezuelans have been fighting on the streets to show their disapproval towards the possibility of having a new constitution that has the aim of increasing the control of the government over the state and the population reducing thus political liberties and human rights. Of the dozens of others sites seen by the AP, two in the loyalist-heavy neighborhood of El Valle had lines of approximately 200 to 400 people.
Venezuela's chief prosecutor's office reported 10 deaths Sunday in clashes between protesters and police across the country.
"We're talking about a conflict that will last until there are elections", said Benigno Alarcon, director of the Center of for Political Students at Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. Vice President Mike Pence promised on Friday that the US would take "strong and swift economic actions" if the vote went ahead. Organizers said preliminary results from observers placed in almost every Venezuelan municipality indicated a small fraction of the turnout seen in previous elections had voted.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is paying homage to the late Hugo Chavez on what would have been his predecessor's 63rd birthday.
"It's been 20 years already and we haven't had the freedom, so that's what I'm here for, voting for my country", said Viviana Salazar. "I ask God for his blessings so the people can freely exercise their democratic right to vote", the president said.
Sector-wide sanctions could prove devastating given the two countries' close economic ties and the dire state of Venezuela's finances.
People wait to vote during the election of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) at a polling station in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 30, 2017.
The absence of the opposition's participation means the pool of aspirants for the all-powerful assembly is a mixture of well-known ruling Socialist Party leaders and rank-and-file pro-government activists.
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