PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The unrest continues in Venezuela, where tanks ran over protesters earlier Tuesday. This comes after the opposition leader urged the military to back him, but the president remains defiant.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Venezuela, backing the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, and calling for dictator Nicolas Maduro to step down.
“Right now, it is packed here, and the military is supporting Guaido,” said a relative of a Venezuelan living in Philadelphia.
The spontaneous demonstrations, taking place after a large faction of Venezuela’s military sided with Guaido, wearing blue arm bands. Many dressed in their uniforms could be seen marching with protesters.
They are nervous but cautiously optimistic.
“Because we know how these people operate. We know how Maduro operates. We know how violent they can be,” said Jose Benavides.
Benavides is the vice president of the Casa de Venezuela, a nonprofit group in Philadelphia.
As news spread of the rebellion, Benavides quickly organized a solidarity rally on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City.
Protesters were heard chanting, “Who are we? Venezuelans. What do we what? Freedom.
All of those who gathered on the Parkway live and work in Philadelphia but are from Venezuela and have family in the midst of the turmoil.
“I’m very emotional. I just hope this nightmare ends today,” said one protester.
“It’s pretty exciting, because this morning when I wake up at 5 in the morning, somebody called me and said, ‘Listen, this is happening now in Venezuela and that is going to happen today,’” added another.
That’s the hope and prayer, that Maduro’s dictatorship and the violence will finally come to an end.
“We don’t need Venezuelans to die in the streets just to restore the democracy in Venezuela,” added another protester.
Maduro still holds onto power Tuesday night. Guaido, the opposition leader, is calling for more protests Wednesday.