Guaido denounces attack on Venezuela opposition rally

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, gestures during a demonstration in Barquisimeto, Venezuela February 29, 2020.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, gestures during a demonstration in Barquisimeto, Venezuela February 29, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Juan Calero

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said he could have been killed during a shooting attack on a protest march in the country's west that wounded a teenage boy.

Guaido had been leading around 2,000 supporters through Barquisimeto city on Saturday when the incident occurred.

A photo released by Guaido's supporters showed a man standing next to a motorcycle, with his face covered, aiming a gun in the direction of the parliament speaker.

His team said a 16-year-old boy was later shot in the leg but is now in a "stable condition." They attributed the attack to pro-government vigilantes.

"The dictatorship could have killed me today, without a doubt," Guaido said in a video published to social media after the march.

"They shot... but that is not going to push us back," he added.

The state government and Barquisimeto mayor's office have not commented on the incident.

Venezuela lurched into crisis a year ago when Guaido declared himself acting president, following claims the country's 2018 election was rigged in favor of President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido wants Maduro to stand down in favor of a transitional government that would hold free and fair elections.

Although Guaido quickly secured the backing of more than 50 countries and initially led street protests drawing tens of thousands of people, his popularity has waned.

He recently returned from a high-profile tour to drum up international support, meeting US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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