President Maduro says Venezuela to create new workers militia to defend homeland

Venezuela's president has ordered the creation of a new workers' militia as part of an existing pro-government fighting force.

President Nicolas Maduro gave few details about the militia including how many members it would consist of.

It would be part of the Bolivarian Militia created by late President Hugo Chavez, which consists of roughly 120,000 volunteers.

The announcement in a speech in Caracas late Wednesday got little attention in the Venezuelan media.

Maduro urged the crowd to imagine the respect the working class would command if it had "300,000, 500,000, 1 million, 2 million uniformed workers, armed, prepared to defend the sovereignty of the homeland."

Critics have warned such militias could be used to cement the socialist government's hold on power.