Merida, Venezuela, May 30, 2018 / 14:14 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A group of people appropriated the facilities of a parish in Venezuela's Mérida state on Monday afternoon, saying they were acting on behalf of the local government.
The group seized Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Ejido, fewer than 10 miles southwest of Mérida, May 28.
Bishop Luis Enrique Rojas Ruiz, Auxiliary Bishop of Mérida, said the group stormed in and tore off the padlocks to the doors that give access to the soccer field and parish halls.
The pastor, Fr. José Juan Flores, prevented them from entering the church and asked their identity. They replied that they were from the city council and they came on behalf of the mayor of Ejido, Simón Pablo Figueroa.
The occupiers immediately asked Fr. Flores to remove his belongings and proceeded to weld shut from the outside the metal doors leading to the soccer field.