As blackout eases, Venezuela braces for rival rallies


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    A woman wipes away tears as she stands with others listening to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, during a rally to commemorate International Women’s Day in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

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    Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, greets supporters at the end of a rally to commemorate International Women’s Day in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela –Venezuelan security forces are deploying in large numbers in Caracas ahead of planned demonstrations by supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Police units and members of the National Guard gathered Saturday at some intersections in the Venezuelan capital wearing helmets and carrying shields and other anti-riot gear.

Several columns of security forces moved through the city on motorcycles.

Meanwhile, backers of President Nicolas Maduro planned to hold a rival demonstration as power returned to many parts of Venezuela after the country’s worst blackout.

The blackout started late Thursday, intensifying a deepening economic and political crisis.

National Assembly leader Guaido is staging protests as part of his campaign to oust Maduro and hold elections. Maduro says he is the target of a U.S.-backed coup plot.

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