General Motors halted operations in Venezuela on Thursday after the car maker's plant in the country was seized by public authorities, the company said.

GM described the takeover as an "illegal judicial seizure of its assets."

It comes as the South American nation experiences intense protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Three people were killed late Wednesday as tens of thousands of people took the streets to demand fresh presidential elections and the release of jailed opposition politicians.

General Motors Venezolana, GM's local subsidiary, was established in 1948 and employs about 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. The firm said it would make "separation payments" to affected workers.

Venezuela's Information Ministry was not immediately available for comment.