Venezuelans are marching in cities across the country Wednesday to demand authorities allow a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro to go forward this year.

In the college town of Merida some 400 opponent of Maduro unfurled a giant Venezuelan flag and held up signs calling for Maduro's removal.

The government closed regional electoral offices to protect staff from what it said are threats of violence.

There's no major demonstration planned for the capital Caracas. Government opponents are instead being asked to stop in their tracks at midday and loudly protest from streets, workplaces and homes for 10 minutes. A pro-government rally of mostly public employees is also taking place.

The demonstrations follow a mass protest last week in Caracas that drew hundreds of thousands of government opponents.