CARACAS, Venezuela — Masked security forces staged raids in the middle of the night Tuesday to haul away two leading Venezuelan opposition leaders, suggesting an expanded crackdown on dissent after widely denounced elections aimed at boosting the authoritarian government.

The moves against Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, who were both already under house arrest, could intensify the international fallout after Sunday’s election, which created a new super congress stocked with backers of the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

A banner with the image of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez hangs outside of his home in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday. Allies of two Venezuelan opposition leaders say Lopez and Antonio Ledezma have been taken by authorities from the homes where they were under house arrest.

The vote was decried as fraud-ridden by the opposition and prompted the Trump administration on Monday to slap sanctions on Maduro. In a video posted online by Ledezma’s wife, security forces are shown apparently dragging the opposition leader between the glass doors of a building.

A man cries “Help!” before another voice shouts: “They’re taking Ledezma!” A woman screams “Dictatorship! Dictatorship!” as Ledezma, 62, is carried away by armed troops in camouflage.

Both men were taken to Ramo Verde military prison southwest of Caracas, aides and family members said. The heavily guarded hilltop complex is a notorious detention center for political and military prisoners.

Anti-government demonstrators hold candles during a vigil in honor of those who have been killed during clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday.

After the election results were announced Sunday, Maduro gave a bellicose victory speech on national television that included threats to jail political leaders who were encouraging protests. Maduro, the anointed successor of leftist firebrand Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013, also said a “truth commission” would be created to “take parliamentary immunity from the legislators who shouldn’t have it.”

The newly minted legislators from Sunday’s vote, including Maduro’s wife and son, are set to take over the National Assembly building from democratically elected lawmakers on Thursday.

The outgoing lawmakers held a defiant session Tuesday, condemning the Sunday election as a “farce” and claiming that the government invented millions of votes. Opposition politicians also denounced the late-night raids while vowing to continue their resistance.

“Imprisonments and persecution of the leadership will not stop the rebellion,” tweeted Freddy Guevara, vice president of the National Assembly and a member of López’s party.

In response to the government’s growing isolation, ambassadors from Britain, France, Spain and Mexico went to the legislative palace Tuesday to support the democratically elected lawmakers. “We diplomats are here to show support,” said France’s ambassador, Romain Nadal. “The Venezuelan people want peace, democracy and its institutions, and we are here to help.”

In a statement, the pro-government Supreme Court said it revoked López’s and Ledezma’s house arrest after “verifying” violations of the terms of detention. It said intelligence officials had uncovered alleged escape plots of both men. The court also said the conditions of the house arrest prohibited political activity or declarations.

Authorities only last month released López, 46, after nearly 3½ years behind bars and placed him under house arrest. At the time, the government called the decision a humanitarian gesture, citing his poor health, though supporters saw the move as an attempt to reduce international pressure.

In a video posted on Twitter by Lilian Tintori, López’s wife, masked security forces in riot gear can be seen in front of what appears to be the family’s house, leading a man through the door and putting him in an official car shortly after midnight.

“They just took Leopoldo from home,” Tintori tweeted. “We don’t know where he is or where they took him. Maduro is responsible if something happens.”

Venezuela’s most prominent political prisoner and former mayor of a district in Caracas, López was arrested in early 2014 and handed a 13-year jail term after being convicted of inciting violence during a street protest. He became a symbol of resistance for opponents of the government, his portrait printed in bright colors on the T-shirts and flags of protesters who chanted, “Free Leopoldo!”

At the time of his release, López, who was forbidden from speaking to the media, issued a statement saying he was ready to return to prison to “fight for freedom.”

In a cinema-worthy twist, López’s family also tweeted a prerecorded video of the opposition leader made for release in the event he was taken from house arrest.

Sitting with his wife on a couch in their family home, he called on the nation to continue the fight.

“If you see this video it is because I was again imprisoned unfairly, because of my ideas, because I wanted a better Venezuela,” López said.

He continued talking, saying “there’s a reason here to be happy.” Touching the belly of his wife, he announced she was carrying their third child.

“The best news I’ve received in three years and a half,” he said. “Despite knowing the risks we’re putting our family in, we’re willing to advance and continue.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ledezma’s wife, Mitzy Capriles de Ledezma, said her husband had posted a Twitter video Monday, despite being under house arrest, and suggested that it may have been one reason he was hauled away.

In the video, Ledezma, 62, with a Venezuelan flag in the background, called the just-elected constituent assembly a fraud, criticized the armed forces and rejected the Supreme Court. Ledezma also critiqued the opposition for its lack of strategy.

“One more time Nicolás Maduro shows off his dictator-like qualities,” said Capriles de Ledezma on Tuesday. She argued that the move smacked of desperation, saying, “The fact that Antonio is again in prison means Maduro knows he’s on his way out.”

Ledezma’s daughter, Oriette Ledezma, issued a video statement saying her father was “kidnapped” by Maduro’s forces in a pre-dawn raid.

“He was in his pajamas,” she said. “A group of masked men in camouflage took him. … We make the regime responsible for his life and physical integrity.”

She added, “This is for Venezuela and the rest of the world because they keep violating human rights.”

“I can say his morale is intact,” said another daughter, Antonietta Ledezma, in a telephone interview. “But we don’t know about his physical state. We’re not scared. It’s more indignation.”

Ledezma was previously arrested in December 2015. Maduro at the time said he was part of a conspiracy to overthrow the government. In May of that year, he was remanded to house arrest after undergoing surgery for a hernia.

In 2013, Ledezma, from the Alianza Bravo Pueblo party, was reelected as mayor. In January 2017, Maduro created a higher executive post in the city, “chief of the greater state of Caracas,” and named a pro-government official to the job.

The Washington Post’s Rachelle Krygier contributed to this report.

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