On Wednesday, Venezuelan justice warned eight opposition mayors that they could be sent to prison if they do not prevent road blockades during protests against President Nicolás Maduro.
The Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ordered officials to take the necessary measures to ensure “free transit” by accepting an appeal by residents of those localities, who are said to be affected by the demonstrations.
The measure is addressed to three mayors of municipalities in Caracas and five from other states, such as Miranda (north) and Mérida (west).
The TSJ is accused of being an “appendix” of the government.
The court said that compliance with the order is “mandatory” or mayors may be punished with six and up to 15 months in prison, according to the law.
The opposition protests that have taken place almost every day since April 1st have left 55 dead and have resulted in heavy unrest in Caracas and other cities.
Protests include roadblocks with barricades of burned trash, debris and tree trunks, affecting vehicular traffic, commercial activities and classes at schools and universities.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, protests have also left one thousand injured.
Maduro accuses opposition leaders of promoting “acts of terrorism” to overthrow him with a coup, but his adversaries denounce that the acts of violence are unleashed by the repression of police and military forces.