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"Arrest millions of people who protest?" opposition leader Henrique Capriles told reporters Friday. He noted that anyone organizing or participating in assemblies could face between five and ten years in prison, but did not specify whether this ban would continue following the election scheduled for Monday.

The Trump administration announced sanctions on 13 current and former members of Maduro's administration, freezing their USA assets and barring Americans from doing business with them.

Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro at home and overseas tried again Wednesday to pressure the socialist leader into halting his plans to rewrite Venezuela's constitution though there was no public sign their efforts were working.

Maduro has deployed the military and police to clear blockades and protect a vote that he says is meant to end the power struggle with the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which he blames for Venezuela's spiraling political, economic and social crisis. Protesters say the election of a constitutional assembly will allow Maduro to eliminate democratic checks and balances and install an authoritarian single-party system.

Earlier this week the United States sanctioned 13 current or former senior officials in Venezuela, who are suspected of human rights abuses, suppressing democracy and corruption.

Opposition leaders are urging Venezuelans to boycott Sunday's election for delegates to an assembly to rewrite the constitution.

But Maduro called for the constitutional revisions, and with pro-Maduro candidates running for numerous seats, including former ministers in his government, the body is likely to favor him.

"Who do these imperialists in the United States think they are?"

Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and troops fired rubber bullets in the air Friday afternoon in one part of the capital, Caracas, video distributed by Reuters showed.

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USA sanctions could also embolden Maduro's base, igniting them to double down on their heavy-handed tactics against Venezuela's opposition protesters.

Late Thursday the prosecutor's office released a list of 109 dead from violence related to demonstrations and street blockades across the country.

It called mass protests for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The United Nations human rights office said it was "deeply concerned" about the "very tense and very hard situation" in Venezuela.

On Sunday voters will elect representatives to a special assembly that would have the power to rewrite the constitution of the South American country.

NDP foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière echoed Mr. Kent, saying Canada should consult with allies to respond to the Venezuelan crisis.

Members of the opposition, who are largely not running for seats on the assembly but fear that the body could give Maduro sweeping new powers, want to stop Sunday's election, and have vowed to push on with some resistance.

In announcing the USA sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said America was "standing by the Venezuelan people in their quest to restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy".

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is paying homage to the late Hugo Chavez on what would have been his predecessor's 63rd birthday. The extension lasts for 90 days and can be renewed for up to two years.

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