Venezuelans vote in symbolic referendum in Bogota

Venezuela Opposition Hails Poll as Blow to Maduro, Plots 'Zero Hour'

'More than 7m' vote in symbolic election in Venezuela

Hundreds of Venezuelans, many wearing their native country's flag, gathered in the Tower District on Sunday to vote in protest of President Nicolás Maduro and his government nearly 4,000 miles away. Voters are to decide whether they want to reject the election of a new National Constituent Assembly (ANC) supported by embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

And it comes two weeks ahead of the elections for the constituent assembly.

Do you approve the renewal of public powers in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and the holding of free and transparent elections, as well as the formation of a government of national unity to restore constitutional order? Representatives of the business sector had previously agreed on the need to build a new Post-Petroleum Economic System, seeking to overcome Venezuela's dependence on the hydrocarbon trade.

Some government officials have threatened with sanctions to people who take part on tomorrow's plebiscite.

"If I was one of Nicolas Maduro's advisers, I would tell him to look at what's happening all over the country [and] stop trying to impose this constituent on the people", said Henrique Capriles, the opposition governor of Miranda state. The opposition has called for a boycott of that vote. Both the government and opposition are effectively boycotting the other, hoping to legitimise themselves in the polarised environment.

The woman's death brought to 96 the number of people who have died in nearly 100 days of protests, which have left more than a thousand injured.

The vote was being held in improvised polling stations at theatres, sports grounds and roundabouts within Venezuela and in more than 100 countries around the world.

Voters were asked if they rejected Maduro's plan to create a "Constituent Assembly" to redo the constitution, and if they approved of early elections.

Hurtado said she hopes the referendum vote shows the world that many Venezuelan people are against the current political administration.

That rewrite would have the capacity to dissolve the National Assembly, an opposition-heavy body of lawmakers that has been a source of frustration for Maduro for years. Upwards of 600 Venezuelans live in Manitoba. And it's not just happening in Venezuela.

The opposition instead hoped that its referendum would send a message to the ruling party.

Every Venezuelan of legal age can cast a vote, only by presenting their ID.

The opposition accuses Maduro of driving the country into bankruptcy, and of using the Constituent Assembly to entirely sideline the parliament.

There was a reported case of a woman being shot dead near a dry run polling station in the working class neighborhood of Catia, apparently by men on a motorcycle.

A vote on July 30 will elect members to a constitutional assembly that, under the proposal, will revise the country's 1999 constitution.

Venezuela is in a deep economic crisis and citizens face severe shortages of basic supplies such as medicine and food. We're joined on the line now by NPR's South America correspondent, Philip Reeves.

"In Mexico, I arrived at 12pm to vote, and I finished at 5:30pm, and there were still more people waiting to vote", Maria, a Venezuelan entrepreneur, told Al Jazeera. It expects participation to reach 10.5 million people - a majority of Venezuela's 19 million voters.

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