Venezuela's Maduro seeks to expand armed civilian militias

President Nicolas Maduro is looking to expand the number of civilians involved in armed militias as tensions in the crisis-wracked nation continue to rise.

Maduro on Monday said that he hopes the number of militia members will reach 500,000 compared to 100,000 currently. He said each new member would be equipped with a gun.

The Bolivarian militias were created by the late Hugo Chavez with the goal of training 1 million civilians to assist the armed forces in the defense of his socialist revolution from external and domestic attacks.

Maduro's comments on the anniversary of the militia's creation come as opponents gear up for a big demonstration Wednesday in which they are seeking to force elections.