Protests in Bolivia after police arrest prominent opposition leader

© Juan Carlos Torrejón, EFE

Bolivian police on Wednesday arrested Luis Fernando Camacho, a key opposition figure and governor of the economic powerhouse Santa Cruz region, the government announced, without specifying the charges.

"We inform the Bolivian people that the Bolivian police executed an arrest warrant against Luis Fernando Camacho," Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said on Twitter, adding more information would follow.

Right-wing civic leader Camacho was under investigation on several charges, including for an alleged role in the resignation of leftist president Evo Morales in 2019, and for allegedly fanning protests in Santa Cruz this year.

The government did not immediately respond to AFP's inquiries into the reason for Camacho's arrest.

The governor's office, meanwhile, claimed Camacho had been "kidnapped in a completely irregular police operation."

It added in a statement: "The governor's whereabouts are unknown, so we hold President Luis Arce's government responsible for his physical safety."

After learning of Camacho's arrest, dozens of supporters flocked to Santa Cruz's two airports, shouting they would not allow his transfer to the administrative capital La Paz, and demanding his freedom.

Flights at both airports were suspended.

In October, Bolivia suspended several exports to prevent food shortages after strikes paralysed Santa Cruz.

Camacho leads the second-largest opposition bloc in the legislative assembly.


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