GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized amid protests

DETROIT – General Motors has stopped doing business in Venezuela after authorities took control of a factory in what GM called an illegal judicial seizure of its assets.

The plant was confiscated on Wednesday as anti-government protesters clashed with authorities in a country that is roiling in economic troubles such as food shortages and triple-digit inflation.

Anti-government protesters march along a highway in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

A police officer guides an armored vehicle during clashes with anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A police officer aims his weapon during anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A demonstrator returns a canister of tear gas towards security forces during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

An anti-government protester wears a mask during clashes with security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Tear gas wafts over anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Police officers clear a barricade during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

An anti-government protester wears a helmet during a break in clashes with security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A police officer fires tear gas against anti-government protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Anti-government protesters bring down a fence to set up barricades in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A demonstrator covers her face with a Venezuelan flag as she stands at a barricade during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A youth aims his sling during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A protester is carried after being injured in clashes with security forces during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Demonstrators wade across the Guaire River as they run away from security forces during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Anti-government protesters march along a highway in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro called on Venezuelans to take to the streets to march against the embattled socialist leader. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Anti-government demonstrators take cover from advancing Bolivarian Police officers during protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro called on Venezuelans to take to the streets in marched against the embattled socialist leader. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Demonstrators escort a man that was beaten, accused of been a thief, during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

An anti-government protester holds a Venezuelan flag during clashes against security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro called on Venezuelans to take to the streets in marched against the embattled socialist leader. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

A demonstrator sits on the street overcome by tear gas during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Anti-Government protesters stand at a barricade in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

An anti-government protesters throws a molotov bomb at security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

An anti-government protester wearing a mask carries a shield during clashes with security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

A demonstrator returns a canister of tear gas towards security forces during anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Anti-government protesters rest during a break in clashes with security forces in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of Caracas in what’s been dubbed the “mother of all marches” against the embattled president. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

杭州桑拿

The Detroit automaker said in a statement Thursday that other assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing irreparable damage to the company.

GM says the plant was taken in disregard of its right to due process. The company says it will defend itself legally and that it’s confident that justice eventually will prevail.

GM has about 2,700 workers in the troubled country, where it’s been the market leader for over 35 years. It also has 79 dealers that employ 3,900 people, and its parts suppliers make up more than half of Venezuela’s auto parts market, the company said.

If the government permits it, workers will get separation benefits “arising from the termination of employment relationships due to causes beyond the parties’ control,” the GM statement said.

READ MORE: Venezuela’s president has carried out a ‘coup d’etat’: national assembly leader

Dealers will continue to service vehicles and provide parts, the company said.

Companies have been cutting operations in Venezuela as a result of runaway inflation and strict currency controls. Last May, tire maker Bridgestone sold its business there after six decades of operating in the country.

READ MORE: Venezuelans scramble as most-used banknote becomes worthless

Bridgestone joined other foreign multinationals including Halliburton, Ford Motor and Procter & Gamble who have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.

Shares of General Motors Co. rose slightly in premarket trading.