Venezuelan opposition protesters on Saturday converged on a main avenue in Caracas and other parts of the country, venting their anger over a nationwide blackout, shortages of basic necessities and the government of President Nicolas Maduro, the AP reports. At the same time, supporters of Maduro held a rival demonstration in a separate district of the Venezuelan capital that drew a mass of people protesting against the US and its "brutal aggression" against the South American country. Both rallies illustrated the ever-growing gulf between two factions now struggling for control of a nation paralyzed by economic and political turmoil.
Meanwhile, tensions were only compounded further by a new power shutdown that came just hours after an earlier blackout in the country appeared to be easing. "This is chaos," said Jorge Jaimes, a physician who joined opposition protesters on Avenida Victoria in Caracas. "We are at the end of this road." Opposition demonstrators earlier in the morning pushed against the shields of riot police, who withdrew from the area but maintained a large presence. Some protesters elsewhere in the city said lines of police were blocking them from reaching the rally organized by opposition leader Juan Guaido, creating a sense of confusion as power and communications outages plagued the country.