A man kneels in front of police blocking a march called by opposition political leader Juan Guaido in Caracas, Venezuela.
A man kneels in front of police blocking a march called by opposition political leader Juan Guaido in Caracas, Venezuela, March 10, 2020.

Venezuelan police used tear gas to break up an anti-government demonstration in Caracas called for by opposition leader Juan Guaido Tuesday.

Thousands of protesters gathered in the Venezuelan capital to march on the National Assembly, which was taken over in January by lawmakers of President Nicolas Maduro's ruling Socialist Party.  The marchers advanced only a few blocks before their path was blocked by riot police.  Some of the protesters responded by hurling stones at the police.

Shortly after the failed march, officers with a special police unit raided a Caracas hotel and arrested three opposition lawmakers who were staying there.  Two of them were later released, but a third, Renzo Prieto, remained in custody.

Guaido organized the march in an effort to revive the street protests against President Maduro that erupted in 2019 after he used his post as president of the National Assembly to declare himself Venezuela's legitimate interim president, claiming that Maduro's re-election the year before was illegitimate.  The United States and nearly 60 other countries have recognized Guaido as the country's rightful leader, but Maduro continues to cling to power.

More than four million Venezuelans have fled the oil-rich country as it has slid from prosperity into economic ruin, complete with rising poverty and soaring inflation.

The protests were held on the same day as Michele Bachelet, the United Nations human rights commissioner, denounced Maduro's government in a scathing report to the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday.  Bachelet told the council that opponents of the Maduro government are in a particularly difficult and dangerous situation.  

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