Demonstrators gather in the streets during a pro-opposition rally on Saturday in Caracas. Thousands of opponents of Venezuela's socialist regime marched in the nation's capital as pressure builds at home and abroad for President Nicolás Maduro to step down. (Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg News)

On Saturday, huge numbers of Venezuelans took to the streets — most of them to show their support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó. A smaller contingency came out in support of President Nicolás Maduro, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the rise to power of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez.

Scenes from the two sides illustrate the deep divisions that have emerged in Venezuela in recent weeks, after Guaidó declared himself interim president and Maduro refused to step down. Marches in support of Guaidó, the 35-year-old head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, appear to have attracted massive crowds of demonstrators — holding signs calling for fair elections and sovereign democracy — in Caracas and other cities around the country.

In recent years, Venezuela has been submerged in a state of political and humanitarian turmoil. Millions fled the country as migrants and refugees, escaping hyperinflation that made the costs of basic goods soar. The country’s health system has also disintegrated.

When Guaidó declared himself interim president, the United States quickly threw its support behind him.

In Venezuela, Maduro still has the support of the military. But early on Saturday, just before the planned demonstrations, an acting Venezuelan air force general switched sides, throwing his support behind Guaidó in a widely circulated video on social media. In the short clip, he says that “90 percent of the armed forces are not with the dictator.” The Venezuelan air force responded on Twitter, calling the general a traitor and claiming he “has no leadership at the air force.”

These photos offer a glimpse into what the demonstrations look like.


Supporters of Venezuela's socialist government gather in the streets of Caracas. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Opposition activists display a Venezuelan flag on the street in Caracas. (Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)

Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government in Caracas. (Adriana Loureiro/Reuters) (Stringer/Reuters)

Maduro delivers a speech during a gathering with supporters in Caracas to mark the 20th anniversary of the rise of power of the late Hugo Chávez, the leftist firebrand who installed a socialist government. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

Opposition supporters take part in a rally in Caracas against the Maduro government. (Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)

Protesters gather for the start of a nationwide demonstration demanding Maduro's resignation. (Fernando Llano/AP)

Opposition supporters take part in a rally in Caracas. A placard reads: "Free elections". (Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)