Venezuela’s opposition leader Friday called for a nationwide protest on Saturday over the arrest of his deputy opposition figure.
Juan Guaido told a news conference in the capital Caracas: “We are fighting a regime that armed the paramilitary groups, but this will not stop us. We will hold protests across the country.”
With the order of The Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), Edgar Zambrano, vice president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, was arrested Wednesday by Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) for supporting last week’s failed coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro.
The National Assembly, led by opposition leader Guaido, slammed the court’s decision with a statement, saying nothing will stop the opposition from achieving free elections.
On April 30, Guaido posted a video on social media showing him standing alongside a small contingent of uniformed military personnel and armored vehicles in which he called for an uprising to end President Nicolas Maduro’s rule.
But Guaido’s move, which he said was the beginning of the final phase of the effort to oust Maduro, seemed to fail to garner enough support within the military.
In a show of defiance on May 2, Maduro took to the streets of Caracas in a march flanked by senior military officers and followed by 4,500 military personnel, according to the Defense Ministry.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Tensions escalated when Guaido, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.
Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Bolivia, and Mexico thrown their weight behind Maduro.