Opposition leader asks followers to keep up pressure on government, as President Maduro’s supporters also take to streets.
Thousands of people in Venezuela have taken part in competing rallies held by the country’s rival political factions, the first since July.
In the opposition gathering in the capital, Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January, called on demonstrators to keep up the pressure on President Nicolas Maduro by staging daily protests.
“They thought they were going to put the Venezuelan people to sleep, they thought they had instilled fear into our hearts,” Guaido told supporters gathered in front of Bolivia’s embassy in Caracas.
“We are not going to give up. Bolivia took 18 days, we have been at it for years. I ask all of Venezuela to keep protesting every day on the street until we achieve it,” he said, urging supporters to take inspiration from demonstrations in Bolivia that forced former President Evo Morales to flee into exile last week.
According to local media reports, the opposition protests in Caracas and elsewhere in the country were big but significantly smaller than those held earlier in the year.
“The political protests called by the opposition against Maduro will have limited effects,” analyst said.
“The military support to President Maduro remains intact.The opposition will need to rethink its strategy,” he said.
“Guaido has also been very limited in suggesting or proposing a strategy that could change the current [status quo],” he added.
Meanwhile, Maduro’s supporters also took to the streets in different parts of the country in rallies billed as events to reject “destabilisation attempts against Venezuela’s government”.
“We want peace, democracy.We must overthrow this racist fascism,” Maduro said in his address delivered via telephone to the people gathered in the pro-government rally in Caracas.
Some of the attendees held up placards in support of Morales, while Maduro denounced the lack of condemnation by United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet “on the massacre that is happening in Bolivia”.
Police said the arrow struck a media liaison officer and he was taken to a hospital. Photos on the department’s Facebook page show the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s lower leg through his pants.
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The pro-democarcy protesters held their ground for most of the day, as water cannon trucks drove over bricks and nails strewn by demonstrators to spray them at close range.
They began retreating into Hong Kong Polytechnic University near sunset, fearing they would be trapped as police fired tear gas volleys and approached from the opposite direction.
Interim president Juan Guaido has Urged his followers for Mass Rallies.