Chaos struck when supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó clashed with pro-regime activists in support of embattled Nicolas Maduro on the now-shuttered Venezuelan embassy in Washington.
Four protesters who had been living inside the Venezuelan Embassy were arrested by federal law enforcement officers and forcibly removed from the building Thursday, ending a month-long standoff.
The embassy, a red-brick building in Georgetown, has been the site of a standoff between supporters of President Nicolas Maduro and backers of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. The Guaidó supporters spent weeks standing outside the embassy, wanting the Maduro backers inside to leave the building.
The U.S. Secret Service confirmed officers aided agents from State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service execute arrest warrants against people inside the embassy.
A State Department spokeswoman said the government of Guaidó, who the United States recognizes as the leader of Venezuela, asked for U.S. assistance in removing the protesters from the embassy, Reuters reported.
The daily protests at the embassy have mirrored the struggle for control over the South American country.
Carlos Vecchio, the Guaidó-appointed ambassador, tweeted Thursday that the embassy had been “liberated” and thanked Matthew Burwick, a pro-Guaidó demonstrator who stood outside the building for weeks, “for becoming that fight symbol.”
The embassy, which was abandoned by Maduro loyalists in late April when the officials’ visas expired, has since been under the control of Code Pink activists, who vowed to protect the building from a “hostile takeover.”
“This group – the Code Pink – has taken the embassy,” one pro-Guaidó protester, Giuliano Gandullia, 40, told Fox News outside the embassy earlier this month. “We want to enter. We want to take over. And demonstrate that it belongs to us.”
The Venezuelan opposition has also been looking for ways to increase international pressure on Maduro to step down. U.S. officials have said “all options are on the table” in the campaign to oust him.
The U.S. and more than 50 other countries say Maduro’s re-election was fraudulent and back Guaidó’s claim to be Venezuela’s interim president. Washington has imposed sanctions on individuals linked to Maduro’s government as well as the country’s oil industry in an attempt to force a change of government. Maduro, whose allies include Russia and Cuba, says he is the target of a U.S.-designed coup plot.
In Russia on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and said later that he had urged Moscow to end its support for Maduro.
Both the U.S. and Russia accuse each other of meddling in Venezuela’s affairs.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.