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Critics of Venezuelan government rally behind opposition lawmaker stripped of seat

Protesters wearing white T-shirts and hats in the red, yellow and blue of Venezuela's flag have gathered to cheer an opposition lawmaker who was thrown out of congress last week.

Maria Corina Machado on Tuesday made her first major public appearance since the socialist ruling party stripped her of her seat. Venezuela's high court on Monday affirmed the legality of the move made after Machado denounced the government at a meeting of regional diplomats.

Machado maintains she is still a congresswoman. It isn't clear if she will try to return to the National Assembly later in the day.

The wealthy, well-traveled conservative is among the most divisive figures in this already polarized county. She's been a key figure leading anti-government protests that have rocked Venezuela for seven weeks.