Protests in Venezuelan streets

Supporters of Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó are hosting nationwide rallies.

Saturday’s protests are aimed to put a pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to step down and call a snap presidential election.

Guaidó declared himself interim president last month. He was immediately recognised by the US and several Latin American countries while the Russia and China back President Maduro.

Major European countries claimed to join the recognition of Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president if Maduro refuses to announce fresh votes until Sunday.

But now Maduro holds the power. It is believed that it is mostly based on military support by the army.

The latest TV pictures show crowds gathering in Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia and Puerto Ordaz.

Both Maduro and Guaidó have commented these demonstrations through Twitter.

Mr Maduro used religious imagery to call on supporters to remain strong “in the face of difficulties”. Mr Guaidó called on protesters to show their “gratitude for international backing”, using the hashtag #ElMundoEstáConVzla (TheWorldisWithVenezuela).

Meantime, one of the high-ranking Air Force general, Gen Francisco Yanez, the force’s head of strategic planning, announced his support for Mr Guaidó in a video message posted online and called other colleagues to join him.

In response, the Air Force’s high command accused him of treason.