Venezuelan opposition lawmakers had to abandon plans to hold a session at the legislature on Wednesday after claiming to have been shot at by armed groups loyal to President Nicolás Maduro.
Groups of armed civilians known as "colectivos" have an infamous reputation in Venezuela where they have been deployed alongside security forces to suppress protests against the Venezuelan leader. Human Rights Watch have described them as “armed gangs who use violence with impunity.”
"Armed colectivos shot at us," wrote lawmaker Delsa Solorzano, a close ally of opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
He had been hoping to open a parliamentary session at the National Assembly where armed forces previously prevented him from entering, first for a vote in which we was to be re-elected as the body's president, and then two days later when a rival claimant to the position held his own meeting there.
The National Assembly is the only government branch in opposition hands but it has been effectively sidelined since 2017 when contested president set up a rival parliament made up entirely of regime loyalists.
The Supreme Court, also filled with Maduro cronies, has since annulled every decision the National Assembly takes.
Parliamentary elections are due later this year in which Maduro has vowed to "take back" the National Assembly.