Guaido calls for mass protests before return to Venezuela

(ALJAZEERA) – Opposition leader Juan Guaido called for nationwide demonstrations on Monday to coincide with his planned return to Venezuela, a challenge expected to escalate his power struggle with President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido on Sunday said Venezuelans should monitor his official announcements and he would provide details about meeting points for supporters. He said they should gather across the country at 11am (15:30 GMT).

“See you tomorrow,” Guaido said in a live video address on social media, adding it would be a “historic challenge” to return. He delivered a defiant warning to Venezuelan authorities if they attempt to detain him.

“If the regime dares, of course, to kidnap us, it will be the last mistake they make,” he said.

Guaido spoke to the camera in a room with his wife, Fabiana Rosales, beside him and a Venezuelan flag in the background.

‘Government overthrow’

The leader of the National Assembly who declared himself president also tweeted a photo of himself walking across an airfield before his departure from the naval base in Salinas, Ecuador, where he met Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Saturday.

Guaido said he was “taking off” but did not say where the plane was heading.

In Venezuela, anticipation grew before Guaido’s expected arrival. Opposition activists circulated a call on social media for people to gather on Monday morning at the Alfredo Sadel plaza in Las Mercedes, a shopping and entertainment area in Caracas where protests have been held in the past.