WASHINGTON, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday slapped sanctions on eight Venezuelan supreme court justices, accusing them of abusing the authority of the country's legislature.

The members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice allowed the country's executive branch to rule through emergency decrees, thereby restricting the rights of the people, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

As a result of the actions, all U.S. assets of the targeted individuals are frozen and U.S. citizens are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

Venezuela saw frequent anti-government protests launched in April by the right-wing opposition coalition known by its Spanish acronym MUD to demand early general elections.

The protests have left more than 40 dead and around 600 injured. Over 1,000 people have been arrested.

On May 1, President Nicolas Maduro called for a new Constitution as a way to overcome the political crisis, and pushed for forming a constituent assembly to draft the document.

However, the opposition coalition has rebuffed the move as a delay tactic.