Venezuela lawmakers have gathered at a special session as pro-government militia members rally outside the capitol building.

Lawmakers are debating ways to strike back after a court on Thursday killed their chances for staging a recall referendum to throw out unpopular President Nicolas Maduro this year.

Lawmaker Julio Borges says the opposition-held congress is now in open rebellion against a government it says has no respect for the constitution.

Legislators at the Sunday session will debate a variety of measures to force a political change, including an effort to replace national elections officials and Supreme Court judges, and a move to take legal action against Maduro for what they call his disregard of constitutional order.

The ruling drew condemnation from the U.S. State Department and the Organization of American States.