Opposition protesters have rallied in Caracas. Their calls to remove the Venezuelan president are taking on a more urgent tone.
It comes a day after the leader announced a state of emergency amid the ongoing economic crisis crippling the country.
Nicolas Maduro’s opponents warned that if he blocks a an attempt to hold a recall referendum there would be serious consequences.
Henrique Capriles, Opposition leader and Miranda State Governor speaking a the rally said, “Venezuela is a bomb that could explode at any moment. We don’t want the bomb to explode and, because of that, we call on everyone to mobilize in favour of a recall referendum in 2016.”
Pro-government supporters were also out in force as the president threatened to seize idled factories and jail their owners, while warning that trouble-makers were stoking violence to justify a foreign invasion.
“Next Saturday, I have called for the armed forces and militia to hold national military exercises to prepare us for any scenario because this land is sacred and we should make sure it is respected,” Maduro told throngs of supporters.
Venezuelans are facing an ever worsening economic crisis caused by low oil prices. Queueing for hours for food, power cuts and blackouts have become a part of daily life.
Maduro blames the US for the situation, and vows to cling on to power despite a recent poll that shows 70 per cent of the population want to see him leave.