Venezuela’s re-invigorated opposition faces a crucial test Wednesday as it seeks to fill streets nationwide with protesters in an appeal to the military and the poor to shift loyalties that until recently looked solidly behind President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

The protests have been called to coincide with a historic date for Venezuelans – the anniversary of the 1958 coup that overthrew military dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez.

Government supporters are also expected to march in downtown Caracas in a rival show of strength.

The competing demonstrations will come after a whirlwind week that saw an uprising by a tiny military unit, fires set during protests in poor neighbourhoods and the brief detention by security forces of the newly installed head of the opposition-controlled Congress.

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