PHOTOS: Uprising in Venezuela as troops join opposition leaders on the streets

Members of the Bolivarian National Guard who joined Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido fire into the air to repel forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro who arrived to disperse a demonstration near La Carlota military base in Caracas on April 30, 2019. (Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets with a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky attempt to lead a military uprising and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

The early-morning rebellion seems to have only limited military support. But it was by far the most-serious challenge yet to Maduro's rule since Guaidó, with the backing of the U.S., declared himself the country's interim president in January in rejection of a government he accused of "usurping" power.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, talks to supporters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

The dramatic events began early Tuesday when Guaidó, flanked by a few dozen national guardsmen and some armored vehicles, released a three-minute video filmed near a Caracas air base in which he called on civilians and others in the armed forces to join a final push to topple Maduro.

In a surprise, standing alongside him was Leopoldo Lopez, his political mentor and the nation's most-prominent opposition activist, who has largely been unseen since he was detained in 2014 for leading anti-government protests. Lopez said he had been released from house arrest by security forces adhering to an order from Guaido.

Opposition demonstrators take cover from tear gas on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

"I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers," Lopez declared.

As the two allies coordinated actions from vehicles parked on a highway overpass, troops loyal to Maduro sporadically fired tear gas from inside the adjacent Carlota air base. A crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand scurried for cover, with a smaller group of masked youths reassembling outside the air base's gates where they lobbed rocks and other heavy objects.

"It's now or never," said one of the young rebellious soldiers, his face covered in the blue bandanna worn by the few dozen soldiers who stood alongside Guaidó and Lopez.

A Venezuelan National Guard member gestures, after joining anti-government protesters in a march, showing his support for opposition leader Juan Guaido in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters)

Read more of this story by The Associated Press. >>>


GRAPHIC WARNING:

THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH.

A government security forces member fires his weapon during clashes with protesters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters)
Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez raises his fist to the crowd of supporters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters)
Members of the Bolivarian National Guard loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro run under a cloud of tear gas after being repelled with rifle fire by guards supporting Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido in front of La Carlota military base in Caracas on April 30, 2019.(Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
An opposition demonstrator crouches down, holding rocks, on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
A member of the Bolivarian National Guard supporting Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido throws a tear gas canister during a confrontation with guards loyal to President Nicolas Maduro's government in front of La Carlota military base in Caracason April 30, 2019. Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
An opposition demonstrator bleeds from his head as he is carried by fellow protesters after being run over by a Venezuelan National Guard vehicle on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
An opposition demonstrator is struck by a Venezuelan National Guard vehicle on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
An opposition demonstrator gestures in front of a burning bus, while holding a rock, near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
Opponents to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro confront loyalist Bolivarian National Guard troops firing tear gas at them, outside La Carlota military airbase in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Photo: Fernando Llano/AP)
Opposition demonstrators help an injured fellow near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Opposition demonstrators clashes with soldiers loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after troops joined opposition leader Juan Guaido in his campaign to oust Maduro's government, in the surroundings of La Carlota military base in Caracas on April 30, 2019. (Photo: Matias Delacroix/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers are seen inside the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" as an opposition supporter takes cover, in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
An opposition demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
Soldiers and people react to the sound of gunfire near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
People react to tear gas near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
An opposition demonstrator peers out from behind a concrete divider as others take over on a street near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)
Defected Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guards and soldiers shout slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in La Parada near Cucuta, Colombia, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets in Caracas with activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro. (Photo: Fernando Vergara/AP)
A military member aims a gun near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters)
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, talks to supporters in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
An opponent to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro returns a tear gas canister to soldiers who launched it at a small group of civilians and rebel troops gathered outside La Carlota air base in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets with activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro. (Photo: Ariana Cubillos/AP)
A military member aims a weapon near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters)
People react to tear gas near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Pro-coup supporters affected after an intervention with tear gas near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Daniel Blanco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A military member throws a tear gas canister near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Soldiers loyal to Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido take position in front of La Carlota base in Caracas on April 29, 2019. - Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido said on Tuesday that troops had joined his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro as the government vowed to put down what it called an attempted coup. (Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
Supoprters of self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido hug members of the security forces in Caracas on April 30, 2019. - Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido said on Tuesday that troops had joined his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro as the government vowed to put down what it said was an attempted coup. (Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)
Opposition supporters take cover near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, center, is seen surrounded by supporters outside La Carlota air base in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Lopez, who had been under house arrest for leading an anti-government push in 2014, said he had been freed by soldiers and called for a military uprising. (Photo: Ariana Cubillos/AP)
An opponent to Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro high fives a rebel soldier on a highway overpass outside La Carlota air base amid tear gas fired by loyalist soldiers inside the base in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaida took to the streets in Caracas with activist Leopoldo Lopez and a small contingent of heavily armed troops early Tuesday in a bold and risky call for the military to rise up and oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro. (Photo: Boris Vergara/AP)
A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido clashes with security forces in Caracas on April 30, 2019. (Photo: Matias Delacroix /AFP/Getty Images)
An opposition supporter waves a Venezuelan flag near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota", in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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