El Universal reports that on Wednesday, agents with Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) detained Daniel Ceballos, the opposition mayor of the city of San Cristóbal who has been an outspoken critic of the federal government’s efforts to suppress protests. Miguel Rodríguez Torres, the Venezuelan justice and interior minister, confirmed the arrest shortly afterward, saying, “This is an act of justice against a mayor who has not only declined to fulfill the obligations imposed upon him by the Constitution but also facilitated and supported the irrational violence unleashed on the city of San Cristóbal.” 

Ronni Pavolini, an aide of Ceballos who broke the news of his boss’s arrest via Twitter, told the Associated Press that SEBIN agents made the arrest in a Caracas hotel where Ceballos was staying while in town for a meeting of opposition mayors. “They took him out of the hotel in Caracas and took him to Helicoide (SEBIN headquarters),” said Pavolini. La Opinion notes that that on Wednesday night, two more people died in protests in San Cristóbal, a student town not far from the Colombian border: a 23-year-old National Guard member and a student protestor. 

Ceballos’ arrest comes one day after Venezuelan lawmakers in the ruling socialist party submitted a formal request to the attorney general’s office for the arrest of opposition lawmaker Maria Corina Machado. 

The protests which have left shaken cities across Venezuela originated in San Cristóbal in early February as a student march against impunity after the attempted rape of a student, according to the blog Caracas Chronicles. When five marchers were arrested and imprisoned in a jail in the northern coastal city of Coro, far from San Cristóbal, the protests snowballed and spread to other cities.