Venezuela opposition leader Guaido plans massive rallies against President Maduro

  28 January 2019    Read: 1596
Venezuela opposition leader Guaido plans massive rallies against President Maduro

Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido called Sunday for two new protests, in an effort to push the military to turn against elected President Nicolas Maduro and back a European ultimatum demanding a new round of elections within the week.

In a video posted on Twitter, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly said the first of the nationwide strikes, on Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. (1600-1800 GMT), would be one "to demand that the armed forces side with the people."

The second, on Saturday, will be a "big national and international rally to back the support of the European Union and the ultimatum" from Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands that they would recognize Guaido as interim president unless Maduro calls elections by Feb. 3.

The EU was more vague, saying it would take "further actions" if elections were not called in the coming days, including the issue of recognition of the country's "leadership."

The United States separately warned there would be a "significant response" if U.S. diplomats, Guaido or the opposition-controlled National Assembly were targeted with violence and intimidation.

Nearly 30 people have been killed and more than 350 arrested in clashes with security forces over the past week.

Maduro on Sunday called on the country's military to stay in "unity and discipline" against the "imperialist coup attempt."

Security forces have become increasingly loyal to Venezuela and its constitution despite several attempts to divide the army, Maduro told soldiers during his visit to the 41st Armored Brigade in Carabobo state.

He stressed that Venezuela will keep all weapons systems, military power, operational capability, military-civil unity and militia forces ready so that "no one can touch our holy sky."

In an interview with Turkish private broadcaster CNN Turk on Sunday, Maduro vowed that the elected government of Venezuela "will finally win" and his country would survive the "coup attempt."

Maduro stated that they are going to overcome the problem in his country with laws and justice, and added he is "open for dialogue."

Highlighting that Guaido violated the constitution, he said, however, he was not a jury and the issue would be solved in accordance with the law.

Maduro said Europe was "again making a mistake" by issuing the ultimatum

"Europeans were arrogant in this process. They should take back this ultimatum. No one can give us an ultimatum," he said.

On Wednesday, following mass demonstrations throughout the country, Gauido, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, announced Maduro as illegitimate and declared himself as the interim president.

Soon after, U.S. President Donald Trump put out a statement recognizing Guaido as the president of the country.

Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay have followed suit while Bolivia and Mexico continue to recognize Maduro.

Turkey, Russia and China all opposed the U.S. call to support Guaido, and condemned any international interference in the affairs of Venezuela. Iran also put its weight behind incumbent President Maduro.

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