|An anti-government protester lights a candle in front of mock tombstones with the names of |
victims of violence, during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government at Altamira
square in Caracas March 19, 2014.
REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A Socialist Crackdown
Venezuelan intelligence agents on Wednesday arrested one opposition mayor accused of stoking violent protests, while another was jailed for 10 months in the latest moves against rivals of President Nicolas Maduro.
The steps follow court orders instructing mayors of opposition-run municipalities to dismantle street barricades set up by demonstrators, which have become flashpoints for more than a month of unrest that has killed 31 people.
Daniel Ceballos, mayor of the hard-hit city of San Cristobal near the Colombian border, was detained by the national intelligence service Sebin and accused of "civil rebellion," reports Reuters News.
Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who also heads Sebin, told state TV that Ceballos was detained by agents acting on an order from court in western Tachira state.
|The Socialist Venezuelan government has nationalized the |
country's supply of toilet paper.
"This is an act of justice for a mayor who not only failed to meet his obligations under the law, but also facilitated and supported all the irrational violence in this city," he said.
"In the coming hours he will be presented before the corresponding tribunals to begin the judgment process."
An aide to Ceballos said he was arrested in Caracas, where he had been attending a meeting of opposition mayors.
San Cristobal, home to some 250,000 people, has been the focus of the most sustained fights between hooded demonstrators barricading roads, armed pro-government radicals, and the security forces.
Torres said a member of the National Guard was shot dead in the city on Wednesday during what he called "vandalistic acts" by protesters targeting a national armed forces university.
Later on Wednesday, the Supreme Court jailed another opposition mayor, Enzo Scarano of San Diego in central Carabobo state, for 10 months and 15 days for failing to comply with a previous order to take down barricades there.
In a statement, the court said Scarano would be stopped from exercising his functions as mayor.
"All our solidarity with Enzo Scarano before this indescribable aggression," tweeted Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the staunchly pro-opposition Chacao municipality in eastern Caracas, which has been the site of near-nightly street clashes.
Caracas chaos video
Gunfire, clashes as 3 dead in violent Venezuela protests
|Anti-government protesters shout during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government at Altamira square in Caracas March 19, 2014. |
REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
|A demonstrator clashes with members of the national guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on March 15, 2014.|
|Protesters holding photos of those killed during anti-government |
protests inside Plaza Altamira in Caracas.