Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday celebrated the election of a new legislative superbody that is expected to give the ruling Socialist Party sweeping powers and mocked U.S. criticism that the vote was an affront to democracy.

At least 10 people were killed on Sunday in protests against the unpopular Maduro, who insists the new body known as the constituent assembly will bring peace after four months of protests that have killed more than 120 people.

Countries across the Americas, as well as the European Union, denounced the creation of the assembly, which will have the power to rewrite the constitution.

The United States – the top market for the OPEC nation’s oil – called the vote a sham, and officials in Washington said they were preparing oil-sector sanctions.

“A spokesperson for emperor Donald Trump said that they would not recognize the results of Venezuela’s constituent assembly election,” Maduro told a crowd of cheering supporters following the completion of the vote.

“Why the hell should we care what Trump says?” he added. “We care about what the sovereign people of Venezuela say.”

Opposition leaders call the election a naked power grab meant to keep the Socialist Party in office despite anger over an economic crisis that has spurred malnutrition and left citizens struggling to obtain basic consumer products.

The country’s elections authority said more than 8 million voters went to the polls on Sunday, while the opposition estimated only 2.5 million ballots were cast. (Reuters)

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Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Flames erupt as clashes break out while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (C) speaks during a meeting with supporters in Caracas, Venezuela July 30, 2017. (Miraflores Palace/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

People walk past a street barricade that includes a mattress with the words “Maduro son of a bitch” after clashes broke out while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Christian Veron/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado makes declarations as the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Flames erupt as clashes break out near security forces members while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Opposition supporters stand behind a barricade as the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Christian Veron/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Opposition supporters stand behind a barricade as the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Flames erupt as clashes break out near security forces members (R) while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Motorcycles burn after clashes broke out while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

A demonstrator wears a rosary while holding chunks of concrete as clashes broke out as the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Opposition supporters set up a barricade as clashes break out with security forces while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Smoke rises from a police station that was set on fire while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Demonstrators burn police uniforms as clashes broke out with security forces while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Venezuelan opposition leader and Governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela July 30, 2017. (Christian Veron/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

A security forces member aims his weapon after clashes broke out with opposition supporters while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

People hold a Venezuela flag as they take part in a protest held by Venezuelans in Mexico against Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly election, at the Heroic Children monument in Mexico City, Mexico July 30, 2017. (Henry Romero/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Demonstrators watch a barricade burn after clashes broke out while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Venezuela braces for more protests after election

Women cross a rubble-strewn street after clashes broke out while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)