Caracas – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s opponents took to the streets Thursday vowing a new day of huge protests, upping the ante after deadly clashes in the beleaguered oil-rich nation.

Protesters determined to oust the leftist leader massed from the morning hours in Caracas, refusing to flinch after the most violent day yet in three weeks of unrest that have left eight people dead.

Riot police fired tear gas to break up scores of protesters on the capital’s west side who were trying to join a larger march — though there was no immediate repeat of Wednesday’s violent clashes, in which three people were killed.

There was a heavy security presence in Caracas and other flashpoint cities, with armored trucks and riot police guarding the main roads.

“No surrender.It is our duty to defend the constitution,” said senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles. But some experts warned the opposition was pursuing a risky strategy.

© AFP Carlos Becerra Opposition demonstrators march against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, on April 19, 2017

© AFP Carlos Becerra – Opposition demonstrators march against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, on April 19, 2017