Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido accused the government of trying to kill him while he was taking part in an anti-government rally Saturday in Lara state.
"The cowardly dictatorship tried to assassinate me," Guaido said in a video posted on social media.
"Nicolas Maduro is a coward who cannot go out on the streets and so he sends armed groups," he added, referring to Venezuela’s president.
A photo posted on Twitter shows a masked man pointing a gun toward a group of opposition activists, including Guaido, who claimed his vehicle was hit by more than nine bullets.
"They shot, they fired guns near us, they aimed at me, but that's not going to make us back down," said Guaido.
His team posted images on social media showing the damage to one of his entourage vehicles and injured people left by the attack he claims was carried out by groups called colectivos, or collectives, which see themselves as the defenders of former President Hugo Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution."
Guaido was calling on people to rally on March 10, when he hopes to retake control of the National Assembly.
His office published an "international alert" calling on the governments of other countries to "decisively and fearlessly increase the measures and pressure exerted against the tyranny headed by Nicolas Maduro.”
The events were condemned by the United States and Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The U.S. government rejects the "acts of desperation and violence" against the demonstration led by Guaido, the U.S. Foreign Office for the Venezuelan embassy in Caracas said in a post on its official Twitter account.
It said the attack was "another reminder of how the world must defend Venezuela" and stressed that "democracy cannot be intimidated."
From his part, Almagro tweeted: "We condemn the attacks and aggression perpetrated today with the use of firearms by armed groups and repressive forces of the Venezuelan regime against Juan Guaido and the civil society.”
There has been no reaction so far from the Maduro government.
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