Venezuela’s intelligence service arrested on Thursday the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, his wife and opposition figures said, in what appears to be the latest crackdown on dissent.
Ledezma, 59, tweeted in the afternoon that government police were on the way to his office to arrest him. Agents shot in the air to disperse a crowd that gathered nearby.
His wife, Mitzy Capriles, took to his Twitter account to report his detention shortly after, and blamed leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
“They took Antonio Ledezma away… They didn’t give him time to say anything,” she wrote.
Maduro faces withering criticism and simmering unrest in Venezuela as the economy continues to decline and basic supplies are in shortage.
Maduro calls Ledezma “The Vampire” and has accused him of being behind last year’s anti-government protests that left 43 dead.
Authorities have not issued a statement about the detention.
Ledezma’s arrest comes nearly a year to the day of that of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader.
About 300 people gathered Wednesday to demand the release of Lopez, one year after he was jailed for allegedly inciting the mass protests against the government.
Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, led the rally in the same Caracas plaza where the Harvard-educated politician surrendered to security forces on February 18, 2014 in the midst of a demonstration.