BBC News:- Venezuela’s self-declared interim leader Juan Guaidó has arrived back in the capital, Caracas, to a rapturous welcome from thousands of supporters.
He faces arrest after defying a travel ban to leave the country and lobby for international aid for the crisis-hit nation.
“They threatened us and here we are, putting forward our face for Venezuela,” he told a huge rally.
Mr Guaidó has called on President Nicolás Maduro to resign.
The two men have been at loggerheads for more than a month. While Mr Guaidó has been recognised by more than 50 countries, Mr Maduro, who is backed by China, Russia and Cuba, insists he is the only legitimate president.
Venezuela’s political crisis has been sparked by an economic meltdown in which hyperinflation has hit salaries and savings, leading many to flee the country.
Mr Guaidó was received at the Simón Bolivar International airport by diplomats from the US and EU nations and a crowd of supporters who chanted “Guaidó, Guaidó” and “Yes we can”.
“We know the risks we face,” he told reporters on arrival. “We are strong, we carry on.”
Accompanied by his wife, Mr Guaidó then travelled to an avenue in the eastern Caracas district of Las Mercedes to address an anti-government rally. While outside the country he had used social media to urge his supporters to gather.
After saying that he had been threatened with “jail, death” before his return, Mr Guaidó said he had been treated well on his arrival at the airport. He said immigration officers even greeted him at the airport with the words “welcome, president”.
“It is evident that after the threats, somebody did not follow orders. Many did not follow orders. The chain of command [in the government security forces] is broken,” he told the crowd.
He said he would be calling a meeting of unions representing public sector employees on Tuesday, and called for nationwide protests on Saturday.