WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced on Sunday a move by Venezuela’s ruling Socialist party to install a new head of Congress after armed troops blocked opposition legislators, including their leader Juan Guaido, from entering parliament.

Pompeo also congratulated Guaido on being re-elected president of the National Assembly, given the illegitimacy of the Socialists’ takeover, and said Washington continued to support him, the National Assembly and free and fair elections.

“I congratulate Juan Guaido on his re-election as president of the Venezuelan National Assembly and condemn the failed efforts of the former Maduro regime to negate the will of the democratically elected National Assembly,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Troops with riot shields blocked

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