CARACAS, Venezuela (BP) -- Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Tuesday led a military uprising in the capital city of Caracas against embattled President Nicolás Maduro's government.
Guaidó reportedly took to the streets with heavily armed soldiers and opposition activist Leopoldo López, whom the military freed from house arrest. In a three-minute video posted early Tuesday on Twitter, Guaidó called on Venezuelans to back the uprising.
"The moment is now," he said at the La Carlota air base in Caracas.
Southern Baptists working alongside national believers in Venezuela released a statement calling for prayer and saying, "This is a crucial day for a divided nation." They reported Tuesday afternoon that the "situation continues undefined, moving rather slowly … at this point, both opposition and regime contingencies on the street are small and contained."
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the government will quash the attempted coup by military "traitors." Troops loyal to Maduro reportedly fired tear gas as Lopez spoke at a highway overpass near the air base.
Guaidó became interim president in January after invoking a clause in the Venezuelan Constitution. The growing military backing could open the door to deposing Maduro.
"The armed forces have taken the right decision," Guaidó said. "With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution, they are on the right side of history."
Earlier in the day, Southern Baptist workers reported that "gunfire is being exchanged in a major Caracas zone, where civilians are caught in the middle." Other parts of the city, they said, reported gunfire in their neighborhoods, while others have been placed under house arrest by the secret police.
"Many people are out on the streets, honking car horns and crying out 'Liberty!'" they said.
The Venezuelan National Baptist Convention has called upon fellow believers around the world to pray for Venezuela.