Bid to strip Venezuelan lawmaker's immunity

Opposition Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado speaks to the media and supporters in front of a line of Bolivarian National Guards during an anti-government march in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Anti-government street protests by Venezuelans fed up with violent crime, shortages of basic items such as flour and cooking oil and high inflation have roiled Venezuela for more than a month. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's National Assembly has voted to begin a process that could strip an opposition lawmaker of her immunity from prosecution for alleged crimes related to anti-government protests.

Government supporters, who have a majority in the assembly, accuse lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, an outspoken critic of President Nicolas Maduro, of civil disobedience and efforts to destabilize his government.

The constitution gives elected lawmakers immunity, but also provides a process to strip it. Tuesday's vote was to take evidence of alleged crimes to prosecutors. There would need to be approval from prosecutors, the Supreme Court and another vote by the National Assembly to strip her immunity.

Opposition party Leopoldo Lopez has just completed a month in jail on charges of inciting violent protests that have left 26 dead.