Five things to know about Venezuela’s escalating political crisis:

HOW DID THE UNREST BEGIN?

In late March, the government-stacked Supreme Court issued a ruling stripping the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its last powers. The decision was later reversed amid a widespread international criticism, but it launched near protests in which at least 75 people have died.

Opposition leaders gained a majority in the National Assembly’s 2015 legislative election amid mounting frustration over President Nicolas Maduro’s handling of the economy, spiraling crime and food shortages. The Supreme Court nullified eight of the assembly’s laws between January and October 2016, after making just one such ruling in the previous 200 years, legal experts say.

HOW DID THE UNREST BEGIN?

In late March, the government-stacked Supreme Court issued a ruling stripping the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its last powers. The decision was later reversed amid a widespread international criticism, but it launched near protests in which at least 75 people have died.

Opposition leaders gained a majority in the National Assembly’s 2015 legislative election amid mounting frustration over President Nicolas Maduro’s handling of the economy, spiraling crime and food shortages. The Supreme Court nullified eight of the assembly’s laws between January and October 2016, after making just one such ruling in the previous 200 years, legal experts say.

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DEATHS AND LOOTING MOUNT

The number of people killed in protests and looting is approaching nearly twice that seen in 2014, in which more than 40 Venezuelans were killed.

Opposition leaders point to armed, pro-government groups known as “colectivos” for the deaths, while the government contends youth paid by the opposition are responsible for the violence. Most of those killed have been young men aligned with the opposition.

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WHAT’S AT STAKE?

If Maduro proceeds with his plans to rewrite the constitution, Venezuela’s government could soon look dramatically different.

While the National Electoral Council has called for delayed regional elections to be held in December, the special assembly could cancel them and 2018 presidential elections.

Venezuela’s economy is forecast to shrink by 8 percent this year and inflation could soar to four digits. Polls indicate at least 75 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro gone but many do not have a favorable opinion of the opposition either.

Maduro warned earlier this week he is willing to do whatever it takes to defend Chavez’s revolution, even if it means using arms.

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