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Protests in Bolivia after Santa Cruz governor detained

STORY: Tensions flared in La Paz, Bolivia on Wednesday, as people protested the detention of the prominent opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho.

The right-wing governor of Santa Cruz was arrested in his home city and taken to a police station in La Paz.

Camacho was detained on charges of “terrorism”, Bolivia’s state attorney’s office confirmed.

His lawyer shared clips purportedly showing the moment of the governor’s arrest.

A passenger who was with Camacho recalled their vehicle being stopped by men dressed in black who smashed their windows in with the butts of their rifles.

Amateur clips have emerged showing people clashing with staff at the airport in Santa Cruz and storming its runway in an apparent attempt to stop Camacho from being taken to another location.

Protesters claimed their governor had been “kidnapped”.

Local media footage showed security forces using tear gas on the streets of Santa Cruz.

The Bolivian state attorney’s office said Camacho’s arrest was linked to the toppling of former leftist president Evo Morales in 2019.

Camacho is the second high-profile figure to be detained in connection to the case after last year’s jailing of ex-president Jeanine Anez for orchestrating a “coup”.

Bolivia’s interior minister later rejected claims that Camacho was injured, tweeting that the governor was given a medical assessment and his health was "stable”.

Camacho had been leading weeks of protests that started in October, fuelled by anger over the government’s delay in carrying out Bolivia’s population census.

A new census would have seen Santa Cruz, which has long butted heads with rival city La Paz, securing more tax revenues and seats in Congress.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson has urged Bolivian authorities to respect due process against those charged.