CARACAS, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan authorities arrested the opposition mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos, Wednesday night on charges of civil rebellion and promotion of violence in recent protests.
Minister of the Interior and Justice, Miguel Rodriguez, told state television that the detention of Ceballos was ordered in the state of Tachira, about 840 km southwest of Caracas, adding that he was taken to the office of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service.
"The mayor of San Cristobal failed to fulfill his duties as the top authority of his municipality and supported the irrational violence that erupted in the city," the minister said.
"Justice has been served after the detention of the opposition leader. It definitely will add up to peace-building processes in Tachira," Rodriguez added.
He also noted that by arresting Ceballos, the people of San Cristobal "would thank us for starting to build peace in Tachira ,and a normal routine could return to the region."
Violent protests, which attempted to topple President Nicolas Maduro, started on Feb. 4 in San Cristobal, the capital city of Tachira, precisely where Ceballos was elected mayor last December.
Ceballos, who publicly demanded Maduro's resignation, is seen by some as the mastermind of violent actions in the western city, while opposition leaders rejected the arrest and called for a rally on Thursday, denouncing what they described as a kidnapping of an elected authority by President Nicolas Maduro.
The recent protests, which have left 30 people dead and over 400 injured since February, erupted at a time when the South American nation faces serious economic and social problems.