Yet another surenchère.
Venezuela bans protests ahead of vote
The ban, announced Thursday toward the end of an opposition-led general strike that shuttered some businesses nationwide for two days, begins Friday and continues through Tuesday, interior and justice minister Néstor Reverol said.
He prohibited "all public meetings and demonstrations, gatherings and other similar acts that might disturb the electoral process."
Those who run afoul of the ban risk prison sentences of five to 10 years, he said.
The move comes as Venezuela, in the midst of an economic and political crisis that has spurred street protests for months, prepares for Sunday's vote called by President Nicolás Maduro.
Voters will elect representatives for a 545-seat special assembly that would have powers to rewrite the South American country's 1999 constitution and dissolve state institutions.
Maduro's critics say the new body would essentially replace the opposition-led National Assembly, and allow Maduro supporters to give him more sweeping powers.
Maduro has said that rewriting the constitution is needed to restore order, apply justice and re-establish peace.