*

upload_article_image

Venezuelan leader puts militias on patrol ahead of protests

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is beefing up patrols by civilian militias across the nation as political rivals call for mass demonstrations against him.

Maduro in a national broadcast Tuesday ordered the nation's 3.2 million militia members to patrol Venezuela's streets. He gave the command seated between the nation's top-ranking military leaders.

The heightened patrols overlap with a Saturday protest called by opposition lawmaker Juan Guaidó, who has led a nearly year-long campaign to oust Maduro with backing from the U.S. and 50 other nations.

Guaidó has not managed to rally large demonstrations in recent months.

However, a wave of political unrest has struck several Latin American nations, and Bolivian socialist leader Evo Morales abruptly resigned Sunday.

Maduro says the same "imperialist" forces that undermined Bolivia's president seek to oust him.