Venezuela’s opposition leader was reportedly briefly detained Sunday, days after he challenged the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro following his re-election.
Juan Guaido, the head of the increasingly defiant opposition-run National Assembly, held a rally after his apparent detention in Caracas.
“I want to send a message to Miraflores – the game has changed,” he told a crowd of supporters, referring to the presidential palace.
His wife, Fabiana Rosales, first announced that he’d been released on Twitter, thanking “everyone that reacted immediately with support against the dictatorship’s abuses against my husband.”
Just hours earlier, Guaido was apparently pulled from his vehicle and briefly detained by police. A video circulating on social media shows men in black ski masks pulling a man out of his car, but it is not possible to confirm that the man in the video is Guaido.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriquez told state television that the brief detention was an “irregular procedure” by rogue agents, shifting blame to Guaido’s allies in saying that the detention was a “media show” to rally support for the opposition.
On Friday, Guaido, whose standoff with socialist President Maduro has become increasingly tense, said he would be willing to serve as interim president and call for new elections – a move which the United States said it would support.
Maduro was sworn in to his second term as president on Thursday, amid a deepening economic crisis and calls for him to step down.