Protesters arrested at Venezuelan Embassy face US charges

A U.S. Secret Service police car, with pro Nicolas Maduro supporters inside, departs after they were taken into custody during the eviction of Maduros supporters from the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo MartThe Associated Press
A U.S. Secret Service police car, with pro Nicolas Maduro supporters inside, departs after they were taken into custody during the eviction of Maduro's supporters from the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Four demonstrators arrested after a weeks-long protest inside the Venezuelan Embassy have been formally charged in federal court.

Prosecutors say Kevin Bruce Zeese, Margaret Ann Flowers, Adrienne Pine and David Vernon Paul appeared before a judge Friday.

They say an arrest warrant was issued earlier this week and the four were arrested Thursday at the embassy in Georgetown.

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington says they've been charged with interfering with the protective functions of the State Department.

The protesters consider Nicolás Maduro to be the legitimate Venezuelan president. But the U.S. and more than 50 other countries say Maduro's recent reelection was fraudulent and are backing congressional leader Juan Guaidó's claim to the presidency.

Guaidó's newly named ambassador had requested the help of U.S. authorities in clearing the building.

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