Venezuela's government announced on Monday two marches to counter protests opposition leader Juan Guaido have been planned. The street demonstrations in favor of President Nicolas Maduro will be launched on Saturday, and May 1, Labor Day.
Saturday's event will also mark Venezuela's official exit from the Organization of American States, two years after Maduro made the decision to leave the bloc, accusing it of being part of a U.S. campaign to "intervene" in Venezuela.
"We want to summon our members to two great demonstrations," said Hector Rodriguez, a leader of Maduro's United Socialist Party in Venezuela (PSUV).
"We summon the whole Chavista population to mobilize and celebrate the definitive exit from this area of U.S. domination and subordination," he added, referring to supporters of the late president and Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez.
The government's announcement comes three days after Guaido revealed his plans for events on those two dates, including what he said would be "the biggest demonstration in this country's history" on May 1 to demand the end of Maduro's "usurpation."
Guaido, 35, and the National Assembly have branded Maduro a "usurper" over his controversial re-election last year. The National Assembly head launched a challenge to Maduro's authority in January, declaring himself acting president.
The government's announcement is in line with its recent policy of calling a counter-demonstration every time Guaido plans a protest of his own.
Maduro has repeatedly slammed U.S. interventions in Venezuela's affairs, as Washington pursues a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the Venezuelan government in support of Guaido.
"With that same rebellion, today we confront new imperialists who seek to rob our sacred treasure, freedom. We will defeat them!" Maduro said last Friday on the 209th anniversary of the start of Venezuela's independence from Spanish rule.
China has called for efforts to promote the peaceful resolution of the Venezuela issue.
Beijing called on relevant parties in Venezuela to seek a political settlement via dialogue and consultation within the constitutional and legal framework, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a routine press conference last month, underscoring China's opposition to interventions by "external forces" in Venezuela's internal affairs.