Venezuela’s government has announced two marches to counter the ones opposition leader Juan Guaido has planned.
The street demonstrations in favour of President Nicolas Maduro will take place on Saturday, and May 1, Labour Day.
Saturday’s event will also mark Venezuela’s official exit from the Organisation of American States, two years after Maduro made the decision to leave the bloc, accusing it of being part of a US campaign to “intervene” in Venezuela.
“We want to summon our members to two great demonstrations,” said Hector Rodriguez, a leader of Maduro’s United Socialist Party in Venezuela (PSUV).
“We summon the whole Chavista population to mobilize and celebrate the definitive exit from this area of US domination and subordination,” he added, referring to supporters of the late president and Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez.
The government’s announcement comes three days after Guaido revealed his plans for events on those two dates, including what he said would be “the biggest demonstration in this country’s history” on May 1 to demand the end of Maduro’s “usurpation”.
Guaido, 35, and the National Assembly have branded Maduro a “usurper” over his controversial re-election last year in polls widely viewed as rigged.
The National Assembly head launched a challenge to Maduro’s authority in January, declaring himself acting president, quickly receiving the backing of more than 50 countries including the United States.
The government’s announcement is in line with its recent policy of calling a counter-demonstration every time Guaido plans a protest of his own.