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Venezuelan opposition leaders seized after calling for protests

Two Venezuelan opposition leaders were taken from their homes by security forces in overnight raids Aug. 1, their families said, after they reportedly called for protests against a new constituent assembly that will override Congress and rewrite the country's constitution.

Leopoldo López's wife Lilian Tintori posted a video on Twitter which she said showed her husband being bundled by armed men into a car marked with the name of the government's Bolivarian Intelligence Agency.

"12:27 at night: the moment in which the dictatorship kidnapped Leopoldo from my home. They won't break him!" she said.

Antonio Ledezma's daughter Oriette said in a video message that her father was taken away in his pyjamas.

"We hold the regime responsible for his life and safety," she said.

Both men had been under house arrest after earlier periods in prison. They had called for protests against plans for a new constitution which they say will turn leftist President Nicolás Maduro into a dictator and will be drawn up by a constituent assembly selected July 30 in elections which were boycotted by the opposition and left 10 dead in protests, Reuters reported.

Maduro, who took over after the death from cancer of Hugo Chávez in 2013, has said a new constitution is needed to bring peace to a country wracked by protests over what the opposition calls political repression and precipitous economic decline leading to shortages of food and other essential items. The government says the Venezuelan economy has been undermined by right-wingers in cahoots with the U.S.