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article imageMaduro makes first public appearance since drone 'attack

By AFP     Feb 2, 2019 in World

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appeared in public on Saturday for the first time since a military parade in August when he claimed to have been targeted in an attempted assassination.

Dressed in a red shirt, the socialist leader took part in celebrations in central Caracas marking the 20th anniversary of his predecessor Hugo Chavez's ascent to power.

He hadn't appeared before the public since August 4 when two explosives-laden drones allegedly blew up during a military parade leaving seven soldiers injured.

Standing alongside his wife Cilia Flores, Maduro sung and rallied thousands of supporters that had come out to mark the anniversary of Chavez's socialist revolution.

Former bus driver Maduro came to power in 2013 as a hand-picked successor when Chavez died.

Since the alleged drone attack, Maduro had limited his appearances to enclosed areas, some of which were only shown on television at a later time.

Around 30 people were arrested after the drone incident, including two active generals and an opposition deputy, Juan Requesens.

Maduro's appearance happened on a day when tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas in opposing protests.

In the east of the capital, self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido led an opposition rally demanding that Maduro resign and new presidential elections.

Guaido, the National Assembly president, has led opposition to Maduro since he was elected to his post in December.

On January 23 he declared himself acting president in a direct challenge to Maduro and was quickly recognized by the United States and a dozen Latin American countries.

Four major European nations -- Britain, France, Germany and Spain -- have said they will follow suit if Maduro doesn't call elections by midnight on Sunday.

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