Emboldened supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido brutally clashed with Venezuelan security forces as dramatic footage from Caracas showed a military armored vehicle plowing into the crowd.
In a video broadcast live on telecasts across the world, the armored vehicle can be seen driving over the center of a road, hitting a crowd of demonstrators purportedly throwing rocks at security forces. No injuries were immediately reported.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL., denounced the actions by Venezuelan security forces, saying that “military and security leaders must realize they are and will be held responsible for this,” he said on Twitter.
An anti-government protester, right, takes cover amid rebel troops who are rising up against the government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, on an overpass outside La Carlota military airbase as they confront loyal troops at the base in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Vergara)
The video of the armored GNB vehicle ramming into a crowd in #Caracas was just broadcast live on @CNN for the entire world to see.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 30, 2019
Military & security leaders must realize they are & will be held responsible for this.
The dramatic events come after Guaido, alongside detained activist Leopoldo Lopez, called for a military uprising Tuesday morning in his boldest action to oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.
“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” Guaido said earlier Tuesday. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution, they are on the right side of history.”
He added: “The moment is now.”
The 35-year-old leader of the opposition-led National Assembly and a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers appeared in an early morning video promoting the “final phase” of his putsch to oust Maduro.
The United States, which has supported Guaido’s claim as interim president of Venezuela, offered its support of the opposition and its supporters.
“To Juan Guaido, the National Assembly and all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad—Estamos con ustedes! We are with you! America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored. Vayan con dios!” Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter.
The Venezuelan government has arrested Guaido's top aide, stripped the opposition leader of his parliamentary immunity and opened multiple probes against him. He has also barred him from leaving the country - a ban that Guaido openly violated earlier this year when he traveled to several Latin American countries seeking foreign support.
Home to the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela was for decades an economic leader in the western hemisphere and, despite a massive gap between rich and poor, was a major destination for neighboring Colombians and other Latin Americans fleeing their less prosperous and more troubled homelands.
But in 1999 with the rise to power of late leader Hugo Chávez – whose social and economic reforms initially endeared him to the poor but also set up an unsustainable system of state spending – Venezuela’s economy began to creep toward a crisis.
Fox News' John Roberts, Kevin Corke, Andrew O'Reilly and the Associated Press contributed to this report.