Video footage has emerged showing President Nicolas Maduro’s troops running over anti-government protesters during clashes with the Venezuelan National Guard.
Armoured vehicles operated by soldiers loyal to the besieged president were seen ploughing into demonstrators in front of La Carlota base in Caracas.
Heavy gunfire crackled through the Venezuelan capital on Tuesday after opposition leader Juan Guaido called for a military uprising to oust President Maduro.
In the clip posted online a group of protesters could be seen throwing missiles at a white armoured vehicle. As they launch the assault as second tank emerged from the left and mounted the central reservation of the highway, mowing down a number of people.
One person could be seen falling under the wheels as both vehicles drove off, leaving crowds to swarm around the injured person.
Guaido urged protesters and members of the military to join what he called the ‘final phase of Operation Liberty’ in a video taken at La Carlota airbase in the capital Caracas while surrounded by heavily-armed soldiers.
The troops then set up defensive positions around the base before Maduro’s forces arrived and opened fire with teargas followed by live rounds, according to witnesses.
Guaido claimed that Maduro had lost the support of the military, but the President said he had spoken with his officers who had assured him of their ‘total loyalty’.
The moment an anti-government demonstrator was struck by a National Guard armoured vehicle was captured in footage posted online
The opposition demonstrator was struck by a Venezuelan National Guard vehicle on a highway near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase ‘La Carlota’ in Caracas
The man could be seen falling under the wheels and being run over by the GNB vehicle which then drove off and left the scene as demonstrators flocked around him
Video footage captured the moment the armoured vehicle mounted the central reservation of the highway outside La Carlota air base in Caracas
Crowds swarmed around the National Guard armoured vehicles after one mowed down a group of protesters
The footage showed the white National Guard vehicle plough into demonstrators as they hurled missiles at troops loyal to President Maduro
An opposition demonstrator standing in front of at an armoured vehicle in flames during clashes with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after troops joined opposition leader Juan Guaido
An anti-government protester walking near a bus that was set on fire by opponents of Venezuela’s President Maduro during clashes between rebel and loyalist soldiers in Caracas
An opposition demonstrator lying in the road injured when Venezuelan security forces used an armoured vehicle to ram demonstrators during clashes outside the La Carlota military base
An opposition demonstrator walking near a bus in flames during clashes with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro
An opposition demonstrator with chest wounds from government bullets holds a rock as a bus burns in the background near La Carlota in Caracas
‘Nerves of steel!,’ Maduro said on Twitter. ‘I call for maximum popular mobilisation to assure the victory of peace. We will win!’
Anti-government demonstrators clashed with troops loyal to Maduro at the air base in the capital hours after opposition leader Guaido took to the streets in a bold and risky attempt to lead a military uprising against the embattled socialist.
The early-morning rebellion seems to have only limited military support, but it was by far the most-serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule since Guaido, with the backing of the U.S. and dozens of other countries, declared himself the country’s interim president in January in rejection of a government he accused of stealing last year’s presidential election.
Venezuela crisis: Which countries are supporting the opposition?
Support for Nicolas Maduro’s regime comes from Russia, China, Turkey, Mexico and Iran, wheres the EU, United States, Canada, Australia and neighbours Brazil recognise Juan Guaido as leader of Venezuela
Supporting ‘interim’ President Juan Guaido:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Costa Rica
- The EU 27
Supporting incumbent President Nicolas Maduro:
The dramatic events began early Tuesday when Guaido, flanked by a few dozen national guardsmen and some armored crowd control vehicles, released a three-minute video filmed near a Caracas air base in which he called on civilians and others in the armed forces to join a final push to topple Maduro.
In a surprise, standing alongside him was Leopoldo Lopez, his political mentor and the nation’s most-prominent opposition activist, who has largely been silent and unseen since he was detained in 2014 for leading a previous round of anti-government unrest. Lopez said he had been released from house arrest by security forces adhering to an order from Guaido.
‘I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,’ Lopez declared.
As the two allies coordinated actions from vehicles parked on a highway overpass, troops loyal to Maduro sporadically fired tear gas from inside the adjacent Carlota air base.
A crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand scurried for cover, reassembling later with Guaido to a nearby plaza.
A smaller group of masked youths stayed behind on the highway, firing rocks and Molotov cocktails in an attempt to storm the air base. Amid the mayhem, an armored utility vehicle drove at full speed into the crowd. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.
‘It’s now or never,’ said one of the young rebellious soldiers, his face covered in the blue bandanna worn by the few dozen soldiers joining the ‘Operation Freedom’ insurrection.
Amid the confusion Maduro tried to project an image of strength, saying he had spoken to several regional military commanders who reaffirmed their loyalty to his socialist revolution.
The events, playing out in the opposition’s stronghold in wealthier neighbourhood of eastern Caracas, appeared not to have triggered a broader military revolt.
Flanked by top military commanders, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez appeared on national television and condemned Guaido’s move to seize power as a ‘terrorist’ act that was bound to fail.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the ‘right-wing extremists’ would not succeed in fracturing the armed forces, which have largely stood with the socialist leader throughout the past few months of turmoil.
‘Since 2002, we’ve seen the same pattern,’ he said, adding that most of Caracas was calm. ‘They call for violence, a coup, and send people into the streets so that there are confrontations and deaths. And then from the blood they try to construct a narrative,’
Hundreds of government supporters, some of them brandishing firearms, gathered at the presidential palace, answering the call by socialist leaders to come to the embattled Maduro’s rescue.
‘It’s time to defend the revolution with arms,’ Valentin Santana, head of a militant group, said in a video posted on social media as he brandished an automatic rifle.
A Bolivarian National Guard loyal to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro fires tear gas from inside La Carlota air base toward a crowd of a few hundred civilians and a small group of rebel soldiers gathered outside the base
Venezuelan National Guard troops loyal to President Maduro use a water cannon on supporters Juan Guaido
Members of the Bolivarian National Guard supporting Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido reload their weapons during clashes on Tuesday
Opponents to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro confront loyalist Bolivarian National Guard troops firing tear gas at them outside La Carlota military airbase in Caracas
Opposition demonstrators face military vehicles near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase
An opposition demonstrator bleeds from his head as he is carried by fellow protesters after being run over by a Venezuelan National Guard vehicle on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase ‘La Carlota’ in Caracas
An opposition demonstrator throwing a tear gas canister during clashes with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after troops joined opposition leader Juan Guaido in his campaign to oust Maduro’s government, in front of La Carlota military base in Caracas
An injured man is helped during a demonstration in Caracas. Reports state that at least one person was injured during the clashes at La Carlota after Guaido called for mass anti-government protests backed by the military
Guaido said the troops who had taken to the streets were protecting Venezuela’s constitution and that in the coming hours he would release a list of top commanders supporting the uprising. Anti-government demonstrators gathered in several other cities, although there were no reports that supporters of Guaido had taken control of any military installations.
‘The armed forces have taken the right decision,’ said Guaido. ‘With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution they are on the right side of history.’
An apparently carefully planned attempt by Guaido to demonstrate growing military support by claiming troops had joined his campaign disintegrated into rioting as palls of black smoke rose over eastern Caracas.
The government said it was ‘deactivating’ an attempted coup by a small group of ‘treacherous’ soldiers.
- Opposition leader Juan Guaido calls for an uprising against Nicolas Maduro as supporters take to the streets
- Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denied there was a military coup attempt underway to oust President Maduro
- He accused opposition leader Guaido and ‘right-wing extremists’ of operating under orders from Washington
- National Guard armoured vehicle ploughs into a crowd of protesters outside the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
- National Security Adviser John Bolton said it was not a coup as many countries recognise Guaido as president
And there was little early sign Maduro’s iron grip on the military – which has kept him in power in a months-long standoff with Guaido – had slipped.
A pall of black smoke also rose from an area near a helicopter hangar on the base. Soldiers put out the fire and fired tear gas at demonstrators who were trying to dismantle the steel perimeter fence.
As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed to all sides to avoid violence, Venezuela’s army chief and defense minister, General Vladimir Padrino, issued a stark warning of possible ‘bloodshed’ – adding that he would hold the opposition responsible.
In a message on Twitter, Padrino said the situation in military barracks and bases in the country was ‘normal.’
He later said an army colonel had received a bullet wound to the neck during the clashes in Caracas.
Bullets began flying after Guaido, who has been trying to oust Maduro for months with largely peacrful protests, called for a military uprising against him, claiming he had lost support of the army
Guaido called on members of the public and soldiers to join him on the streets to oust Maduro in what he described as the ‘final phase of Operation Liberty’
Protesters representing Juan Guaido were caught in the cross-fire and ran through clouds of tear gas in order to take cover
A military member and a man take cover near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase ‘La Carlota’ in Caracas
Guaido has based himself at La Carlota airbase in the capital Caracas (pictured, protesters nearby), where heavy gunfire was heard hours after his announcement
A solider loyal to Guaido aims his handgun over the parapet of an overpass near the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
Tear gas canisters were fired at civilians and troops who had joined Guaido on Tuesday morning, before apparent clashes with Maduro’s troops
Venezuelan soldiers who have backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido exchanged gunfire with troops loyal to President Maduro outside La Carlota airbase in the capital Caracas on Tuesday
Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez called on the army ‘to remain on maximum alert to – with our glorious National Bolivarian Armed Forces – defeat the attempted coup and preserve peace.’
An online censorship-monitoring group says Venezuela’s state-run internet provider has been restricting access to YouTube and some Google services.
NetBlocks says CANTV, the state-run telephone and internet service provider in Venezuela, also briefly restricted access to Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday after opposition leader Guaido and López launched the bid to oust Maduro.
Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, said Google’s search engine was not affected but Microsoft’s Bing was.
As events unfolded, governments from around the world expressed a mix of support for Guaido while reiterating calls to avoid violent confrontation.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, in a Twitter post directed at defence minister Padrino, said the armed forces ‘must protect the Constitution and the Venezuelan people.’
He added it would be a ‘big mistake’ for Maduro to use violence against civilians in a bid to quash the rebellion.
Bolton said today that what’s happening ‘is clearly not a coup’ because the U.S. and many other countries recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
The White House said it hopes an attempted military uprising in Venezuela will be ‘enough to tip’ leader Maduro out of power.
Spain’s caretaker government urged restraint, while the governments of Cuba and Bolivia reiterated their support for Maduro.
Opposition demonstrators clash with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who were armed with shields and armoured vehicles
Opponents to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (back and left) scuffle with a Bolivarian National Guard officer who is loyal to President Maduro during clashes with rebel soldiers and anti-government protesters outside La Carlota base
An opposition demonstrator rides a bike in front of a burning bus near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase
Opposition demonstrators help an injured fellow protester get away from the melee on the back of a motor bike near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase
An opposition demonstrator left reeling from the effects of tear gas is fired by Maduro’s troops is being helped during clashes with soldiers
Paramedics transport an anti-government protester who was injured during clashes between demonstrators and Maduro’s security forces
Opponents of Venezuela’s President Maduro throw stones into the La Carlota airbase in Caracas where soldiers loyal to Maduro are based
‘We hope with all of our strength that there is no bloodshed. We support a peaceful democratic process in Venezuela. We support the immediate holding of an election for a new president,’ Spanish government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa said.
Arreaza denied there was a military coup attempt underway to oust Maduro and accused opposition leader Guaido of operating under orders from Washington.
Guaido called for a military uprising and armed factions exchanged gunfire outside a Caracas air base on Tuesday, although the incident fizzled out and did not appear to be part of an immediate attempt by the opposition to take power through military force.
‘It is not a coup attempt from the military. This is directly planned in Washington, in the Pentagon and Department of State, and by Bolton,’ Arreaza referring to U.S. national security adviser John Bolton.
‘They are leading this coup and giving orders to this man (Juan) Guaido,’ he added.
The latest violence comes after a months-long political standoff between Maduro, backed by Russia, China and Cuba, and Guaido, who is recognised by the United States and about 50 other nations as the country’s interim president.
Arreaza said Maduro, who has been in power since 2013, was in full control of the country with the backing of the military.
‘He is in his place of command as always, and he is in control of the situation. He is making government decisions every day,’ said Arreaza.
An opposition demonstrator gestures during clashes with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Maduro
Supporters of President of the Venezuelan Parliament clash with armoured trucks of the Bolivarian Armed Forces during a protest at the Altamira area in Caracas
Venezuelan National Guards stand guard on Simon Bolivar International Bridge, partially blocked by cargo containers placed by Venezuelan authorities, as people return from La Parada near Cucuta, Colombia
An opposition demonstrator is seen next to a government bus set on fire during clashes near the La Carlota military base in Caracas
Members of the Bolivarian Armed Forces try to block a protest in support of Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido in Caracas
A supporter of Juan Guaido shows wounds he received to his chest fired by the National Guard during a protest in Caracas
Asked why Maduro had not been seen in public on Tuesday, Arreaza said: ‘You will see President Maduro with his people in Miraflores [presidential palace] sooner [rather] than later.’
He estimated that around 30 or fewer members of the military had sided with Guaido, who was accompanied at a rally in Caracas with several dozen armed troops. ‘This is 30 out of about 200,000, so it is almost nothing,’ he added.
Maduro has called Guaido a U.S.-backed puppet who seeks to oust him in a coup.
Washington has imposed sanctions to try to dislodge Maduro. Arreaza, who was himself targeted with sanctions by Washington last week, said the Venezuelan government would act to maintain peace and security.
‘We are not threatening anyone with the use of violence. It’s the United States, it’s the opposition,’ said Arreaza, who is married to the eldest daughter of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s former president who died in 2013 of cancer.
Arreaza said he had spoken to representatives from countries in the region and in Europe who were concerned about the situation and urged dialogue. He declined to name the countries, adding that the government was open to dialogue.
Guaido, who has the backing of the US and most Western governments, has been trying to oust Maduro for months using largely non-violent protests.
American National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence have since tweeted their support for Guaido, saying: ‘The United States stands with the people of Venezuela.’
An opponent to President Maduro carrying a Venezuelan flag covers his face to shield himself from tear gas fired by soldiers
An injured man is helped by fellow anti-government protesters during clashes with security forces
A Bolivarian National Guard water canon sprays opponents of Venezuela’s President Maduro during an attempted military uprising and anti-government protests in Caracas
Anti-government protesters used objects they found in the street such as bin lids and planks of wood during running battles with Maduro’s forces
Government military police officers confront pro-Guaido demonstrators trying to protect themselves inside the Ministry of Housing at Avenida Francisco de Miranda in Caracas
An injured woman is treated during a protest in Caracas
U.S. President Donald Trump ‘has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation,’ White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Meanwhile two of the key international allies of Maduro – Bolivia and Cuba – condemned what they described as a coup attempt by violent rebels.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, another key ally of Venezuela that has invested billions in the country’s oil industry, was ‘discussing’ the situation with his top security team.
Mexico expressed concern about an escalation in violence and called on both sides to seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue.
Protests appeared to be spreading around the country following Guaido’s call, with the leader claiming that people in 24 states had come out to support him.
Brazil’s vice president says that the situation in Venezuela has reached a point of no return.
Former Gen. Hamilton Mourao said that either opposition leaders Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez would ‘be prisoners’ or President Maduro ‘would be leaving’. ‘There is no other way out of this’, he added.
Guaido has been trying to oust Maduro for months using largely peaceful protests, but that changed on Tuesday as he announced an uprising against the President
A large number of people on motorbikes gathered on a motorway overpass leading to the airbase before tear gas was fired, followed by live rounds
Soldiers who had defected to Guaido were seen setting up heavy machine gun posts on the overpass shortly before gunfire broke out
Venezuelan military forces fire tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters at the airbase
Troops loyal to President Maduro are seen gathered near the airbase amid clashes with those who have joined the cause of ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido
A protesters throws a stone at a vehicle of the Guardia Nacional which have largely remained loyal to Maduro during protests
A member of the Bolivarian National Guard supporting Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido throws a tear gas canister
It comes after years of mis-management have left the country impoverished, wracked by inflation and food shortages, and following Maduro’s ‘victory’ in elections that many decried as rigged.
Meanwhile hundreds of supporters of President Nicolas Maduro have gathered at a rally beside Venezuela’s presidential palace, where security force members are deployed on the perimeter wall.
The Maduro loyalists have been chanting slogans of support and a man on a truck has handed out large posters of Maduro with the Venezuelan flag behind him.
Guaido called on Venezuelans and the military to join him on the streets, as government vowed to put down what it said was an attempted coup.
In the three-minute video Guaido, speaking in the company of men in military uniform and opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez, said he was at the Caracas air base La Carlota.
Soldiers who took to the streets would be acting to protect Venezuela’s constitution, Guaido said. He made the comments a day before a planned anti-government rally.
‘The moment is now,’ he said, as his political mentor Lopez and several heavily armed soldiers backed by a single armoured vehicle looked on.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido appeared in a video (pictured) with a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers and formerly detained opposition activist Leopoldo Lopez calling for Venezuelans to take to the streets to oust President Maduro in Operation Liberty
A military member stands near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase
Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido delivers a speech during a gathering with supporters after members of the Bolivarian National Guard joined his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Tuesday he had began the ‘final phase’ of his plan to oust President Nicolas Maduro
Maduro hit back on Twitter, saying that he maintained the complete loyalty of the military on Twitter and pledging ‘nerves of steel’ for the fight ahead
US-backed Mr Guaido said ‘the end of the usurpation’ was beginning against the government of Nicolas Maduro (pictured)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton both backed Guaido’s call, saying that American ‘stands with the Venezuelan people’
After announcing the final phase of his uprising, Guaido left the military base in order to hold a rally on the streets of Caracas in order to prove he holds popular support
Guaido, center, stands with an unidentified military officer who is helping to lead a military uprising, center left, as they talk to the press and supporters outside La Carlota air base in Caracas
Defected Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guards and soldiers shout slogans against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in La Parada near Cucuta, Colombia
A member of Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard who has defected to Guaido holds up a Venezuelan flag with the Spanish message ‘Resistance’ written on it during a protest in La Parada near Cucuta
Defected members of the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard sing Venezuela’s national anthem and yell anti-government slogans as a loyalist guard films them with his cell phone at the border bridge between Venezuela and Colombia
Members of the public cheer as soldiers who have swapped loyalties to Guaido march into the Carlota airbase in Caracas
Military personnel loyal to Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaido hug each other outside the airbase in Caracas as they try to topple Nicolas Maduro from power
Defected members of the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard and soldiers stand in formation at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, which links Venezuela and Colombia, in La Parada near Cucuta
Lopez has been under house arrest for leading an anti-government push in 2014.
Making his first public appearance since his detention, Mr Lopez said: ‘This is the moment of all Venezuelans, those in uniform and those who aren’t.
‘Everyone should come to the streets, in peace.’
Lopez said he had been ‘freed’ from jail by soldiers supporting Guaido. He posted a picture on Twitter with men in uniform from the Carlota military base.
‘Venezuela: the definitive phase to end the usurpation, Operation Liberty, has begun,’ read the message.
US-backed Mr Guaido also said ‘the end of the usurpation’ was beginning against the Maduro goverment.
‘In this moment I am meeting with the principal military units of our Armed Forces giving the start to the final phase of Operation Liberty,’ he added.
‘The national armed forces have taken the correct decision, and they count on the support of the Venezuelan people,’ Guaido said.
Venezuela’s information Minister Jorge Rodriguez responded on Twitter, saying the government is confronting a small group of ‘military traitors’ that are seeking to promote a coup.
Mr Rodriguez tweeted: ‘We inform the people of Venezuela at the moment we are confronting and deactivating a reduced group of military traitors who are positioning themselves in the Distribuidor Altamira (neighbourhood) to promote a coup d’etat against the constitution and the peace of the Republic.
Lopez (centre), who had been under house arrest for leading an anti-government push in 2014, said he had been freed by soldiers and called for a military uprising
Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez talks to media after being released from his home in Caracas, Venezuela, where he has been kept under house arrest since 2014
Uprising soldiers stands outside La Carlota air base in Caracas on Tuesday April 30
A pro-Guaido supporter throws a molotov cocktail near military base of La Carlota, in Caracas, Venezuela
Guaido supporters wearing gas masks and gloves pick up and throw tear gas canisters fired by pro-Maduro troops
A medic mounted on a motorbike makes his way through crowds near the airbase in Caracas after reports of gunfire
Supporters of the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido Pro-coup marching near military base of La Carlota, in Caracas
Soldiers and people react to the sound of gunfire near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase, in Caracas
Venezuelan opposition supporters demonstrate outside the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase
‘To this intent is added the putschist and murderous ultra right which announced its violent agenda months ago.
‘We call on the people to maintain maximum alert so, together the glorious National Armed Bolivarian forces defeat the intent to mount a coup and preserve the peace. We will win.’
Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, called on government supporters to amass at the presidential palace to defend Maduro.
Guaido invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency in January after declaring Maduro’s re-election a fraud.
He has the support of more than 50 countries, including the United States, which also recognise him as interim president.
The uprising came ahead of planned May Day protests which were going to be used to call for Maduro’s removal, and appeared to be an attempt to build up momentum.
Guaido has said the protests will be ‘the largest march in Venezuela’s history,’ part of what he calls the ‘definitive phase’ of his effort to take office in order to call fresh elections.
But Maduro, for his part, has appeared to retain control of state institutions and the loyalty of military officers.
A Venezuelan soldier stands guard at La Carlota army base, where Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was led to meet with interim President Juan Guaido after he being released from his home, in eastern Caracas
Opponents to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro throwing stones at soldiers loyal to the president inside La Carlota airbase
Tear gas was fired at a highway overpass next to the Caracas air base where several heavily-armed soldiers with a blue band wrapped around their forearms had been standing guard. The tear gas appeared to have been fired from inside the air base
An opposition demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase
Tear gas floats in the air near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase ‘La Carlota’, in Caracas
People react to tear gas near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase ‘La Carlota’, in Caracas
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for a military uprising, in a video shot at the air base showing him surrounded by soldiers and accompanied by detained activist Leopoldo Lopez
Protesters walk past a fire on the streets of Venezuela’s capital Caracas as protests against Nicolasa Maduro spread
He has called Guaido a U.S-backed puppet who seeks to oust him in a coup. The government has arrested his top aide, stripped Guaido of his parliamentary immunity and opened multiple probes.
It has also barred him from leaving the country, a ban Guaido openly violated earlier this year.
Last week, Guaido said his congressional ally – opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro – had been detained, and that 11 members of his team had been summoned to appear before the Sebin intelligence agency.
Lopez, seen with Guaido, appeared to have left his home for the first time since being placed under house arrest in 2017, after three years in jail.
‘I have been freed by soldiers on the side of the constitution and President Guaido,’ he tweeted. All of us have to mobilize. It’s time to win our freedom.’
A soldier in the group with Guaido, who identified himself just as Rivas, denied government accusations that they had been tricked into backing Guaido.
‘We’re all afraid,’ he told Reuters, ‘but we had to do it’.
Spain, instrumental in setting the European Union line, said that, although it considered Guaido the legitimate leader of Venezuela, it did not support a military coup and wanted to see elections.
Pictured: Opponents to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro run from loyalist Bolivarian National Guard troops firing tear gas at them. Loyalists troops were locked in frantical battles with opposition supporters across the country on Tuesday afternoon
Soldiers on motorbikes speed away as opposition supporters pelt them with objects during clashes outside the La Carlota military airbase in Caracas, Venezuela
Civilians wearing rudimentary motorcycle helmets for protection crouch behind a concrete wall as members of the military loyal to the opposition sit ready with rifles and ammunition
Guaidó’s ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, called the action on Tuesday ‘only the beginning’ as he warned ‘you will see more events in the hours and days to come’
Dozens of Venezuelan exiles tied blue ribbons to their right arms and packed a small Venezuelan diner in the Miami suburb of Doral – where President Trump has a golf resort – to follow the turmoil in their homeland.
Some shouted ‘Long Live Venezuela’ and ‘Freedom’ while wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the colors of Venezuela’s flag. Others wept as they sang the nation’s anthem. Many were checking social media networks and making video calls to relatives in Venezuela.
Congressional leader Juan Guaido urged soldiers and civilians in Venezuela to rise up against the government of Nicolas Maduro, setting off clashes between demonstrators and security forces loyal to the socialist president.
Wilfredo Castillo is a general practitioner who arrived three months ago from northern Venezuela. He cried as he said he did not know what it was like to live in a free country.
He said the revolt ‘gives me hope to go back and step back on my soil, my homeland and be free.’
Florida is home to an estimated 190,000 Venezuelans – a small but significant share of the millions who have left the country in recent years.
Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido hung a Venezuelan flag behind a skeleton outside the Venezuelan consulate in New York
Activists opposed to Guaido have been staging a round-the-clock vigil inside the Venezuelan Embassy n Washington, DC in an effort to prevent representatives of Guaido from taking over the building and keeping it in the hands of Venezuelan Leader Nicolas Maduro
People attend a gathering of Venezuelan nationals in Sol Square in Madrid, Spain, after Guaido, asked supporters abroad to take the streets in front of Venezuelan embassies
This photo was released by the Miraflores presidential palace press office to show supporters of President Maduro gathering outside Miraflores presidential palace during an attempted military uprising in Caracas
Venezuela leadership battle: A timeline of key events
April 2013: Maduro is elected leader of the South American nation, succeeding Hugo Chavez as President.
February 18 2014: Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez is placed under house arrest after a wave of protests against Maduro.
July 17 2017: Millions of Venezuelans vote down Maduro’s plans to take control of the country’s National Assembly.
May 20 2018: Maduro wins another snap election despite claims of vote rigging by opposition leaders.
January 23 2019: Guaido declares himself acting president at a rally of tens of thousands of people in Caracas demanding that Maduro quit.
US President Donald Trump immediately recognizes Guaido as acting president, as do Canada and major Latin American powers.
Maduro gets the support of allies including China, Russia, Turkey, Mexico and Cuba.
January 26: Six European countries say they will also recognize Guaido unless Maduro calls elections.
January 30: thousands of opposition protesters, led by Guaido, call on Venezuela’s military to abandon Maduro.
He demands that the Venezuelan government allow in foreign humanitarian aid, claiming the lives of thousands of people are at risk.
February 4: Some 20 European countries also recognize Guaido.
February 16: Guaido says he has the support of thousands of people to bring in aid via Colombia, Brazil and the Dutch island of Curacao.
Venezuelan troops however block the road, preventing the aid from entering.
February 21: Maduro shuts the border with Brazil.
February 22: Russia also accuses the United States of using aid deliveries as a ploy for military action.
March 7: most of Venezuela is plunged into darkness by a major power cut that lasts five days, followed by sporadic blackouts.
March 24: two Russian military planes bring in around 100 soldiers and 35 tons of equipment.