France's Macron hails bravery of Venezuelans marching for freedom

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a signing of a new agreement on bilateral cooperation and integration, known as Treaty of Aachen, in Aachen, Germany, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday saluted the courage of Venezuelans marching for freedom but stopped short of backing the country’s opposition leader Juan Guaido who declared himself interim president.

“After the illegal election of (President) Nicolas Maduro in 2018, Europe supports the restoration of democracy. I salute the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marching for their freedom,” Macron said on Twitter.

Guaido proclaimed himself interim president on Wednesday, winning backing from Washington and parts of Latin America and prompting socialist Maduro to break relations with the United States.

Reporting by Simon Carraud; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta