Venezuela plunged deeper into turmoil Monday as security forces put down a pre-dawn uprising by national guardsmen that triggered violent street protests. 27 guardsmen were arrested and more could be detained as the investigation unfolds, Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said.
They guardsmen have called for a nationwide demonstration Wednesday, urging Venezuelans — especially members of the Armed Forces — to abandon President Nicolas Maduro. The mutiny struck at a time when opposition leaders have regained momentum in their efforts to oust Maduro.
A few hours earlier, a group of heavily armed national guardsmen published a series of videos on social media saying they won't recognize Maduro's government, which has come under increasing domestic and international pressure over a newly begun second term that the opposition-controlled congress and many nations consider illegitimate.
In one of the videos, a man identifying himself as Sergeant Alexander Bandres Figueroa, addressing the "people of Venezuela," urges his compatriots to take to the streets to show support for their rebellion. "You asked to take to the streets to defend the constitution, well here we are," he said in a video shot at night. "You wanted us to light the fuse, so we did. We need your support," he added.
Restrictions were placed on Twitter and Instagram as these videos were circulating Venezuela on Monday, NetBlocks, an agency that monitors web restrictions around the world, reported.
The uprising triggered protests in a poor neighborhood near Venezuela's presidential palace. It was dispersed with tear gas as residents set fire to a barricade of trash and chanted demands that Maduro leave power.
The military said in a statement said that it had recovered all the weapons and captured those involved in what it described as "treasonous" acts motivated by "obscure interests tied to the far right."