But many feared the violence that has characterised Venezuela in recent years would now spiral out of control.
Raul Villegas, a Chavez supporter from western Caracas, said: "I will not be leaving my house for some time – I expect riots to be happening throughout the city. Caracas isn't safe tonight."
"Everyone expected this sooner or later," said Bruno Cruicchi, a businessman in the Candelaria district. "Our emotions here are varying between sadness and acceptance. We have had a long time to consider this. People around me are shutting up their shops and leaving early because they fear there are going to be riots tonight. What needs to happen now is that the government needs to taker a strong grip, otherwise we're going to have a very difficult situation on our hands," he added.