As blackout eases, Venezuela braces for rival rallies


The blackout has been one of the worst and longest in recent memory in Venezuela, which is already suffering from serious shortages of food and medicine due to the overarching economic crisis.

The outage had left most of the country in disarray, crippling day-to-day functioning of hospitals and other public services, according to local press reports.

"For this reason, all the progress we had achieved by mid-afternoon was interrupted", Maduro said in Caracas on Saturday. "Yes we can!" shouted opposition protesters as riot police prevented them from accessing the street in east Caracas where their demonstration was due to take place.

"Today, more than ever, we're anti-imperialists".

The power flickered on and off in parts of Caracas on Saturday morning.

"There are countless conversations going on between members of the National Assembly and members of the military in Venezuela, talking about what might come, how they might move to support the opposition", Bolton said in an interview on ABC's "This Week".

As night fell Saturday, much of the country was still without power.

Mr Maduro also called out his supporters to protest against "imperialism" in a march that marks four years since the United States branded Venezuela a "threat" to its security and imposed sanctions.

Independent confirmation of the alleged deaths was not immediately available. The Information Ministry did not reply to a request for comment.

The western regions of Barinas, Tachira and Zulia remained without electricity while in other states the supply was proving unstable.

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"We have a complete lack of services", says another resident.

"They're planning to tire us out, but they no longer have a way of containing the people, who have made a decision to ensure the end of the usurpation", Guaido tweeted on Saturday.

Security forces have deployed in large numbers in the city ahead of planned rallies by supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Critics say that far from helping, this has caused perishable food to go bad and crime to run rampant.

"Not a president, not anything", said Maduro, who accused Guaido and his US allies of sabotaging Venezuela's Guri Dam, one of the world's largest hydroelectric stations and the cornerstone of Venezuela's electrical grid.

Witnesses reported overnight protests and confrontations with police in a few Caracas neighbourhoods and the remains of makeshift barricades and burned debris were seen at some intersections.

The U.N. doctrine sometimes referred to as R2P was created to prevent mass killings such as those of Rwanda and Bosnia and places the onus on the global community to protect populations from crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. He said the "macabre strategy" to make Venezuelans desperate and turn them against each other would fail.

"President @jguaido, (you should) formally request Humanitarian Intervention, applying the concept of R2P, to stop extermination, genocide and destruction of what's left of our country", Ledezma wrote via Twitter.

Tensions flared when opposition leader Guaido declared himself acting president on January 23 - a move supported by the US and many European and Latin American countries.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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