'Taking of Caracas' —despite pre-emptive arrests
Venezuela's opposition Table for Democratic Unity (MUD) claimed success in its massive Sept. 1 mobilization dubbed the "Toma de Caracas" (Taking of Caracas) to demand the recall of President Nicolás Maduro—despite pre-emptive arrests of leaders. Protest organzers put the total of marchers at up to 2 million, while government estimates were as low as 30,000. Official media and protest leaders are at odds as to whether there was violence at the march, with the MUD denying charges that protesters attacked police. Rights group Foro Penal reported 119 people were detained nationwide in a bid to head off the mobilization. Arrests have continiued since the march, and three local mayors are among those detained by the Bolivarian National Intellgence Service (SEBIN). An arrest order has been issued for opposition leader Lester Toledo of the Popular Will (VP) party in Zulia state for allegedly "financing terrorism." Maduro announced that he will consider stripping all Venezuelan politicians of immunity in order to permit prosecutions of suspected coup-plotters.
Thousands also turned out Sept. 1 for a pro-government rally in Caracas, where Maduro threatened: "Do they want democracy? We will have democracy, but if they try to come at me with a coup, with ambushes and violence, the revolution will respond." (VenezuelAnalysis, VenezuelAnalysis, InfoBae, InfoBae, InfoBae)