Venezuelan local authorities say they are combating a small coup attempt after opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced he was in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolás Maduro’s leadership.
Guaido appeared in a video with uniformed men, saying he had military support.
Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January, called for more members of the military to help him end Maduro “usurpation” of power.
But military leaders appeared to be standing behind Maduro.
Venezuela’s defense minister appeared on television to stress the point. However, photos from Caracas show some soldiers aligning themselves with Guaidó’s supporters.
Maduro’s critics hope the military will change its allegiance as resentment grows following years of hyperinflation, power cuts, food and medicine shortages.
So far, the armed forces have stood by Mr Maduro – despite dozens of countries, including the UK, the US and most of Latin America, recognising Mr Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader.
As a result, John Bolton, the US national security adviser, said what was taking place in Venezuela was not a coup, but a legitimate leader trying to take control.