REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, CARACAS -- Fugitive Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez calmly turned himself in to authorities Tuesday as thousands of pro- and anti-government supporters rallied in the capital Caracas.
President Nicolas Maduro -- whose government is under fire over what protesters say is rampant crime and deteriorating living conditions -- had banned the opposition march called by Lopez at the Plaza Brion.
Lopez's surrender marked a dramatic inflection point after two tension-filled weeks of protests in the oil-rich country, led by students also angry over the jailing of demonstrators.
The Harvard-educated economist told thousands of his supporters, all clad in white, that he hoped his arrest would highlight the "unjust justice" in Venezuela, to an explosion of cheers from the crowds.
Maduro, speaking to pro-government oil workers dressed in red in the western part of the city, countered that Lopez would have to "answer for his calls to sedition."
The Venezuelan leader last week ordered Lopez's arrest on charges of homicide and inciting violence after violent street clashes in Caracas left three dead.
But on Tuesday, he announced he was replacing the head of the national intelligence service, the Sebin, after rebuking a group within the agency for disregarding orders to stay in their barracks during last week's deadly protest.