A group of Venezuelan soldiers on Monday announced an uprising against the government of Nicolas Maduro, issuing a video message calling on the people to join them in the streets.
Security forces moved in to the Cotiza neighbourhood of Caracas after the group of around two dozen men in the uniform of the Guardia Nacional put out the call in the early hours of Monday morning, saying it was “now or never” to rebel against Mr Maduro.
“You asked for us to come out into the streets, to defend the constitution – here we are,” a leader said in videos which circulated on social media. “It is today.”
The apparent mutiny drew a swift response from government forces, who cordoned off much of Cotiza and hours later announced the capture of all the rebels in a “counter-attack”.
But unrest broke out in the poor neighbourhood as residents protested in support of the defectors, with hundreds burning piles of trash, set up barricades, and shouting “freedom!”
Videos from the scene showed young masked men throwing stones at National Guard troops, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
“The armed forces categorically reject this type of action, which is most certainly motivated by the dark interests of the extreme right,” the government said in a statement read out on state television.