Wed Oct 26, 2016 09:35PM
This handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency shows supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cheering during a gathering in Caracas on October 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
This handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency shows supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cheering during a gathering in Caracas on October 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
  • Embed

Tens of thousands of pro and anti-government protesters have gathered on the streets of Venezuela's capital Caracas.

During Wednesday’s mass rallies, in which over 20 people were injured and 39 were detained, the opponents accused President Nicolas Maduro of violating the constitutional order and blocking a recall referendum aimed at removing him from power.

They also called for his immediate resignation.

Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro next to a poster of him in Caracas, Venezuela, October 26, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

“This is a way of pressuring Maduro so he understands that he has to go," said one protester. "Being passive is no use anymore. We have to apply more pressure," another one added.

Meanwhile, large numbers of pro-government protesters gathered near the Miraflores presidential palace in a show of support for Maduro.

As the protests were being held, the president engaged in crisis security talks in reaction to the demonstrators’ demands. In a televised speech after the talks, he called for "political dialogue and peace in Venezuela."

This handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivering a speech to supporters during a gathering in Caracas on October 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Maduro is adamant about Washington's role in his country’s political and economic woes, and has accused the opposition of conspiring with the US against the South American country.

"They are desperate, they have received the order from the north to destroy the Venezuelan revolution," he added.

On Tuesday, Maduro accused the opposition of attempting a “parliamentary coup” by voting to launch an impeachment process against him.

“There has never been a parliamentary coup in Venezuela, and we shall not allow anything like this to happen, the right-wing here and there should know this,” Maduro said during a massive rally by his supporters outside the presidential palace.

Opposition supporters take part in a rally against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, October 26, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

The opposition-controlled National Assembly agreed to initiate the impeachment process against Maduro earlier on Tuesday in reaction to blocking a bid to recall him last week.

The political standoff in Venezuela has worsened since the October 20 suspension of the opposition push to hold a referendum to try to recall Maduro. Back then, four state courts said the signature-gathering process for the referendum had been “fraudulent,” effectively blocking it.