Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido orders more protests | World News

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called on people to protest in the streets again as he continues to challenge President Nicolas Maduro’s legitimacy as the country’s leader.

Speaking on Sunday during a live broadcast, he urged people to take part in two rallies planned for this week, saying people should leave their homes and offices for peaceful protests on Wednesday and Saturday.

He said the weekend’s demonstrations should be held in “every corner of Venezuela” and around the world.

An opposition demonstrator runs with a tear gas canister

Battle for power in Caracas

Mr Guaido, 35, said Saturday’s protests had been planned to coincide with a European Union deadline for Mr Maduro to call new elections.

The broadcast comes after the self-declared president asked British authorities to stop Mr Maduro, 56, accessing gold reserves held in the Bank of England, according to letters released by his party.

Mr Maduro’s government has been attempting to repatriate gold from the Bank of England since last year over fears it could be caught up in international sanctions against his regime

Opposition supporters demand an end to the rule of Nicolas Maduro
Opposition supporters have demanded an end to the rule of Mr Maduro

In letters to Theresa May and Bank of England governor Mark Carney, Mr Guaido claimed Mr Maduro’s administration was seeking to sell gold and move the proceeds to Venezuela’s central bank.

“I am writing to ask you to stop this illegitimate transaction,” said Mr Guaido. “If the money is transferred… it will be used by the illegitimate and kleptocratic regime of Nicolas Maduro to repress and brutalise the Venezuelan people.”

Venezuela’s central bank, the Bank of England and Mrs May’s office did not immediately respond to news agency requests for comment.

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‘Cultish devotion’ to Venezuela’s opposition leader

The letters follow Mr Maduro being shunned by a large group of nations in the West, with Latin American neighbours accusing him of undermining democracy.

A growing number of states have recognised Mr Guaido as the legitimate interim leader of Venezuela.

Israel and Australia are among the latest to back the opposition leader.

Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne said in a statement on Monday: “Australia recognises and supports the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, in assuming the position of interim president, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution and until elections are held.

“We now urge all parties to work constructively towards a peaceful resolution of the situation, including a return to
democracy, respect for the rule of law and upholding of human rights of the Venezuelan people.”

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