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Gideon Long in Caracas

Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets both for and against the government of Nicolás Maduro on Saturday in the country’s first big protests since a wave of unrest swept through Latin America from Chile to Bolivia and Ecuador.

In Caracas, opposition leader Juan Guaidó addressed tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters who marched from seven points of the capital to congregate in bright sunshine in the district of Chacaito.

The protest was a big test of Mr Guaidó’s leadership, which has flagged in recent months. When he first emerged as a challenger to Mr Maduro in January, declaring himself interim president, he galvanised the opposition and gave them hope of an imminent change of government. But as time has passed and Mr Maduro has refused to relinquish power his movement has run out of steam.