CARACAS -- Venezuela Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz broke ranks Friday morning with embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and sided with the opposition-held National in the Constitutional crisis currently engulfing the oil-rich country.
"It's a breach of the Constitutional order," Ortega said of Wednesday night's decision by the Supreme Court to usurp the functions of the National Assembly. "Several violations of the Constitutional order are evident," in that latest decisión by the Supreme Court.
Ortega's remarks, delivered during the presentation of her annual report, were met by "a standing ovation at least one minute long" according to all news radio station Union Radio.
Ortega's defection was unexpected, as she had for years supported every maneuver by Maduro as well as by the President's mentor and predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.
"She surprised the country", was how Colombian all-news TV station NTN24 explained it.
"It is my unavoidable duty to manifest to the country my concern regarding such events," Ortega also said. State TV was broadcasting Ortega's remarks live but stopped the transmission the second Ortega criticized the Maduro-controlled Supreme Court decision.
Scores of protesters were arrested by National Guard Friday morning outside the Supreme Court, while other protests have been reported in Caracas as well as in the Central Venezuela states of Aragua and Carabobo.