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  • Protesters next to a burning car during a protest against the government in Caracas, June 14, 2017.

    Protesters next to a burning car during a protest against the government in Caracas, June 14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

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The official said he was a target for not defending democracy and peace in Venezuela.

Venezuela's human rights ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, accused the country's right-wing opposition, which has organized marches against the government for the past two months that have often turned violent, of being behind recent attacks and threats against his family.

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Saab said Saturday that some 30 people carrying flags of the opposition party Justice First attacked his family in the eastern city of El Tigre and threatened to burn their house down.

The official said to VTV state television in a phone call that the attackers said, "The next time we will come to burn the house of Tarek William Saab, no matter who is inside."

Saab blamed the attack on the national leadership of the Justice First opposition party, which opposition leader Henrique Capriles and National Assembly President Julio Borges are part of.

Saab said they are responsible for what happens to his relatives "anywhere in Venezuela." He said he believes that attacks are related to his work as a "defender of the people and as president of the Citizen Power, as a guarantor of peace in this country." The Citizen Power is Venezuela's fifth branch of government along with the executive, legislative, judicial and electoral branches.

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He added that he believes he has been targeted "For not having given in to an institutional coup, for not having lent myself to facilitate anti-democratic sectors with a bridge towards a civil war in this country, for the strong position I have maintained in defense of democratic legality, the constitution, and the law."

The ombudsman said the incident occurred days after he announced that the attorney general, Luisa Ortega, allegedly did not raise any objection to the appointment of a group of judges who today she argued should be dismissed in an effort to block the call for the National Constituent Assembly.

Ortega has said that the judges in question were chosen in an irregular process, with the approval of the ombudsman office.

President Nicolas Maduro called for a National Constituent Assembly, through democratic elections to select representatives, to alleviate the political crisis in the country and the wave of protests called by the opposition that has led to the deaths of at least 84 people.

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