Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Venezuelan capital Caracas, has been detained amid claims of involvement in a US-backed coup attempt.
Colombian news station NTN24 showed a video of what it called the detention of Ledezma. The images showed nearly a dozen troops clad in flak jackets and camouflage uniforms ushering him toward an elevator.
Intelligence agents took the 59-year-old veteran politician from his office in the banking district of Caracas after breaking down doors and firing shots in the air, witnesses said.
Supporters have leapt to Ledezma’s defence.
“This is an attack not only on Antonio, not only on democracy, not only on the opposition: it’s an attack on the rights of the Venezuelan people to live in peace,”
said fellow opposition leader Jesus Torrealba.
The arrest comes a year after protests erupted calling for President Nicolas Maduro’s resignation, sparking violence that has killed dozens of people.
In a live broadcast, Maduro accused Ledezma of links to an effort to topple the socialist government.
“On the orders of state prosecutors, he was captured and will be processed by the Venezuelan justice system for crimes committed against the peace of the country,” the president said during a meeting with supporters at the presidential palace.