Caracas (CNN)Venezuela's political future remains murky, after a dramatic showdown today began with opposition lawmakers storming parliament, and ended with tear gas in the streets of Caracas.
Chaos and a political showdown at Venezuela's National Assembly
On Tuesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido was briefly blocked from entering Venezuela's National Assembly building by soldiers in riot gear, before he and a number of fellow opposition lawmakers forced their way in.
The group heaved their weight against the wooden doors of the legislative palace and ran towards the chamber, forcing the few guards inside the palace to give way. Singing the national anthem, they gathered towards the chamber's podium and swore in Guaido as Venezuela's interim president -- a role he assumed last year after declaring the rule of embattled president Nicolas Maduro illegitimate.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later congratulated Guaido for claiming leadership of the National Assembly and reiterated support for his role as interim president.
"The dictatorship's oppressive forces did not want to allow us in," Guaido said after his swearing in. "There are not two oppositions or parliaments, there is only one country."
There are, however, two rival claims on the top leadership role in the National Assembly, which underpins Guaido's claim to the presidency.
Over the weekend, both Guaido and a little-known congressman named Luis Parra had been named assembly presidents by separate groups of legislators: On Sunday, a nearly empty parliamentary session conducted by pro-government lawmakers named Parra to the role. Hours later, Guaido was voted in by an "alternative" session of opposition lawmakers who had been barred from the first vote.