Tens of thousands join opposition march in Caracas
CARACAS - Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Venezuela have been marching through the streets of the capital, Caracas, to call for the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.
They want to put pressure on the electoral authorities to allow a recall referendum this year. The country is in a deep economic crisis which the opposition blames on government mismanagement.
Government supporters are holding a rival march in Caracas. The government accuses the opposition of trying to mount a coup.
President Maduro said his administration was well prepared: "If they're coming with coups, ambushes and political violence, the revolutionary [government] will provide an uncommon and overwhelming response.''
Five hundred police officers will be deployed in the Chacao area of Caracas alone to police the marches.
The government said the opposition had failed to attract the one million people they were expecting in their march, which they dubbed the "Takeover of Caracas".
"The nation has triumphed. They wanted to intimidate the people but the people are here," said Mr Maduro at a rally in central Caracas.