2014-02-17 09:46:05

Protests in Venezuelan capital Caracas

(Vatican Radio) One of Venezuela's main opposition leaders is defying the Government to try and arrest him when he leads a huge march in the heart of the Capitol, Caracas on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez vehemently denies committing any crime apart from steadfastly opposing the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. Police are searching for him, after a court issued an arrest warrant and searched two family homes to find nothing, because he's gone into hiding.

President Maduro says a coup is being hatched against him and is calling for peace and a reduction in tensions.

Leopoldo Lopez says he'll be leading a symbolic march on Tuesday from Caracas' Venezuela Square, to the Ministry of Justice Building. He's asking his supporters to dress in white to show their ongoing commitment to peace.

He's also accusing the Government of the deaths of three people in previous protests.

The US State Department is stressing deep concern for the deteriorating situation in oil rich Venezuela, which is battling problems of hyperinflation, law and order, crumbling infrastructure, and unemployment.

Listen to James Blears' report: RealAudioMP3

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