The president of the opposition-led National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, has called for a demonstration in Caracas on Wednesday, January 23, to commemorate the 1958 Venezuelan coup d'état and to denounce the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The demonstration, known as 23E, is expected to draw thousands in the capital, with associated protests possible nationwide. The march is slated to come after the arrest of Guaidó on January 13 and the second inauguration of Maduro as President of Venezuela on January 10. A heightened security presence and widespread transportation disruptions are possible near the demonstration. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Police briefly detained Guaidó on January 13 as he traveled to a political rally, two days after he was declared interim President of Venezuela by the opposition-led National Assembly.
Venezuela experienced several months of violent anti-government protests in 2017, coinciding with ongoing political, economic, social, and health crises. At least 125 people died during these demonstrations. Significant unrest also broke out in 2014 following the last presidential elections and again in early 2016. All told, hundreds of people have been killed during protests - many by security forces who have repeatedly been accused of excessive use of force - with thousands more wounded and arrested.
Maduro has faced mounting international pressure following attempts to marginalize opposition leaders, including creating a new pro-government legislative body and an election condemned by the UN, EU, and many western states, which saw him winning with nearly 70 percent of the vote. Maduro was inaugurated for a second term on January 10, 2019, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. Many foreign governments responded by withdrawing their foreign missions and the Organization of American States (OAS) declared it would not recognize Maduro as Venezuela's head of state.
Individuals in Caracas, and Venezuela more generally, are advised to strictly avoid all protests due to the risk of violence and arrest amid high sociopolitical tensions.
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