Popular Resistance reported on June 3 that Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia moved to drop the federal charges of “interfering with certain protective functions” leveled against Adrienne Pine, David Paul, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.
“Today’s sentence marks yet another victory in the effort to protect the Venezuelan Embassy,” noted the four activists in the release.
“The Embassy Protection Collective broke through the blockade and got supplies to the people inside; the people inside prevented the coup supporters from staying in the embassy; the embassy was not turned over to Guaido — it remains empty today — and now the federal charges have been dropped.”
The quartet, along with other activists who formed the Embassy Protection Collective, defended the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC, from being unlawfully handed over to the US-backed, self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaido.
The 37-day effort came to an end on May 16, 2019, when US Secret Service agents stormed the building and arrested the four activists who remained, the rest having been forced to leave by waning supplies and the cutting off of water and electricity to the building.
Though they were each originally facing a maximum sentence of a year behind bars and up to a $100,000 fine, the members of the Embassy Protection Collective have secured a number of victories in US courts, despite a lack of Western media coverage on the issue.
Sputnik reported in February that Judge Howell had declared a mistrial in the case after the jury was unable to reach a verdict, despite being provided more time to deliberate.
While the federal charges were dropped, the four members of the Embassy Protection Collective have each been placed on six months of probation and fined $500 in connection with a more minor charge of “incommoding” - which translates to “basically causing a disturbance,” according to the Wednesday release.
Zeese told the Council on Hemispheric Affairs that Wednesday’s verdict is not the end of the Embassy Protection Collective’s fight alongside the people of Venezuela.
“We are going to increase our efforts at building solidarity in the US and Venezuela to stop US regime change. With this prosecution behind us we will work to end US sanctions, and threats of military force,” he declared.
“I want to express my solidarity with the Venezuelan people and all people who believe in protecting human rights and resisting the US illegal exploitation and aggression,” Flowers told the outlet. “I know that together we will build a world based on cooperation, peace and respect for law.”
The Embassy Protection Collective also announced in the Popular Resistance release that they plan to host a webinar with Venezeualan social movement leaders “in an effort to build international solidarity and opposition to US imperialism.”