The Americas

Venezuela opposition rejects state of emergency

  • Opposition leader Henrique Capriles holds up a small copy of Venezuela's constitution during a news conference at his office in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, where he called for Venezuelans to ignore an economic and state of emergency decree, if put into place by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, saying it's unconstitutional and a violation of international conventions and of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter. Maduro threatened Saturday to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deep economic crisis.  (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Opposition leader Henrique Capriles holds up a small copy of Venezuela's constitution during a news conference at his office in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, where he called for Venezuelans to ignore an economic and state of emergency decree, if put into place by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, saying it's unconstitutional and a violation of international conventions and of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter. Maduro threatened Saturday to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deep economic crisis. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Opposition leader Henrique Capriles shows the Official Gazette government publication during a news conference at his office in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, where he called for Venezuelans to ignore an economic and state of emergency decree, if put into place by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, saying it's unconstitutional and a violation of international conventions and of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter. Maduro threatened Saturday to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deep economic crisis.  (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Opposition leader Henrique Capriles shows the Official Gazette government publication during a news conference at his office in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, where he called for Venezuelans to ignore an economic and state of emergency decree, if put into place by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, saying it's unconstitutional and a violation of international conventions and of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter. Maduro threatened Saturday to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deep economic crisis. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Maduro accused the United States of sabotage plans against Venezuela, saying they aim to create a scenario of violence to justify a foreign military intervention to remove him from power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Maduro accused the United States of sabotage plans against Venezuela, saying they aim to create a scenario of violence to justify a foreign military intervention to remove him from power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuelan opposition leaders are rejecting a 60-day state of emergency declared by President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro declared the state of emergency over the weekend, giving himself decree powers to intervene in the economy and protect national sovereignty. He said the expanded powers were needed to guard against U.S. meddling in the socialist country.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called the move unconstitutional Tuesday because Maduro acted unilaterally. Capriles said Venezuelans should reject the decree.

Capriles is expected to lead a march through the streets of Caracas on Wednesday to support calls for a voter referendum on whether to oust Maduro from office.

The opposition has filed a petition with enough signatures to authorize conducting a broader petition drive on holding a recall referendum. But on Tuesday, Maduro called that initiative "optional."