Maturin, Venezuela, Jan 24, 2019 / 14:45 pm
As opposition marches were held across Venezuela Wednesday, at least 700 opposition supporters were trapped in Maturin's Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for several hours, besieged by the Venezuelan Army.
The Jan. 23 marches were convoked by the National Assembly, Venezuela's democratically elected legislature, which is controlled by the opposition. At one of these marches in Caracas, Juan Guaido, head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president, calling leader Nicolas Maduro illegitimate.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched in support of the opposition, and security forces met some of the protesters with tear gas. Local NGOs have said 14 people were shot dead during protests Jan. 22-23.
Bishop Enrique Pérez Lavado of Maturin reported that seminarians, priests, and some 700 people participating in the demonstation were besieged in the cathedral, with the military "trying to break their way inside," according to the Venezuelan bishops' conference on Twitter.