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Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido orders more protests

The opposition leader calls for demonstrations to be held in "every corner of Venezuela" and around the world as tensions grow
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called on people to
protest in the streets again as he continues to challenge President
Nicolas Maduro's legitimacy as the country's leader.Speaking on
Sunday during a live broadcast, he urged people to take part in two
rallies planned for this week, saying people should leave their homes
and offices for peaceful protests on Wednesday and Saturday.He said the weekend's demonstrations should be held in "every corner of Venezuela" and around the world.Mr Guaido, 35, said Saturday's protests had been planned to coincide with a European Union deadline for Mr Maduro to call new elections.The
broadcast comes after the self-declared president asked British
authorities to stop Mr Maduro, 56, accessing gold reserves held in the
Bank of England, according to letters released by his party.
Mr Maduro's government has been attempting to repatriate gold from
the Bank of England since last year over fears it could be caught up in
international sanctions against his regime

Image:
Opposition supporters have demanded an end to the rule of Mr Maduro

In letters to Theresa May and Bank of England governor Mark Carney,
Mr Guaido claimed Mr Maduro's administration was seeking to sell gold
and move the proceeds to Venezuela's central bank."I am writing to ask you to stop this illegitimate transaction," said
Mr Guaido. "If the money is transferred... it will be used by the
illegitimate and kleptocratic regime of Nicolas Maduro to repress and
brutalise the Venezuelan people."Venezuela's central bank and Mrs May's office did not immediately respond to news agency requests for comment.

'Cultish devotion' to Venezuela's opposition leader


The Bank of England said it does not comment on individual
relationships subject to customer confidentiality, adding: "In all its
operations, the Bank observes the highest standards of risk management
and abides by all relevant legislation, including applicable financial
sanctions."The letters follow Mr Maduro being shunned by a large
group of nations in the West, with Latin American neighbours accusing
him of undermining democracy.A growing number of states have recognised Mr Guaido as the legitimate interim leader of Venezuela.Israel and Australia are among the latest to back the opposition leader.Australia's
foreign minister Marise Payne said in a statement on Monday: "Australia
recognises and supports the President of the National Assembly, Juan
Guaido, in assuming the position of interim president, in accordance
with the Venezuelan constitution and until elections are held."We now urge all parties to work constructively towards a peaceful resolution of the situation, including a return to
democracy, respect for the rule of law and upholding of human rights of the Venezuelan people."
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