Venezuela – Protesters Gather After Guaidó Call

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Venezuelans have gathered for mass protests after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for fresh demonstrations.

It comes the day after President Nicolás Maduro said he had stopped an “attempted coup” by the opposition.

“Today we continue,” Mr Guaidó tweeted. “We will keep going with more strength than ever, Venezuela”. Pro-government protests will also take place.

Mr Guaidó says he has the support of the armed forces, but Mr Maduro says they have not turned against him.

In a fiery television address on Tuesday, Mr Maduro accused protesters of “serious crimes” which he said would “not go unpunished”, and said the US was plotting against him.Mr Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s interim leader in January and has been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the US, the UK and most in Latin America.

But Mr Maduro – backed by Russia, China and the top of the country’s military – has refused to cede leadership to his rival.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said military action was “possible” if necessary but that the US would prefer a peaceful transition of power.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the US against further “aggressive” steps.

What’s the latest?

Early on Wednesday Mr Guaidó retweeted a list of planned protest points in the capital, Caracas. May Day is a public holiday in Venezuela.

Student and opposition groups have tweeted images of protesters massing in the streets and of a large security presence.

But there were also pro-government demonstrations, with President Maduro saying workers were gathering across the country to celebrate May Day.

Streets were littered with burnt-out vehicles after Tuesday’s clashes.

The opposition said protests had taken place throughout Venezuela, in the capital and across all its 23 states.

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