MANDATORY CREDIT: Juliana de Andrade
The staff of the Venezuelan embassy in Brazil declared their support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a Twitter video shot inside the embassy in Brasilia, after supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido broke into the building and declared a new ambassador.
"We want to report that today, our embassy has been besieged by irregular citizens who broke into sovereign Venezuelan territory and are now inside our facilities," said the embassy's Charge d'Affaires, Freddy Efrain Meregote.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was reportedly unaware of the activists' plan, but security forces are reportedly working towards a peaceful resolution to the stand-off. Meanwhile, members of Brazil's leftist Workers Party (PT) and Maduro supporters gathered to demonstrate outside the embassy.
"We want to state on record that we unequivocally stand in support of the legitimately constituted government of President Nicolas Maduro Moros," Meregote added.
The situation is unfolding as Brazilian, Russian, Chinese, Indian and South African leaders arrive for an international summit in Brasilia.
Venezuela has been in a political crisis since January 23, when Guaido, who is president of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, declared himself interim president in a move now recognized by over 50 countries including the United States the European Union and Brazil.
Guaido nominated Maria Teresa Belandria as his chosen ambassador to Brazil in June, but she did not formally take over the embassy as its staff remains loyal to Maduro.