Supporters of Santa Cruz governor Luis Fernando Camacho in Bolivia have clashed with police following his detention on terrorism charges.
They torched cars, pelted rocks, burnt tires, and tossed firecrackers toward the police. Security forces fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd and made at least four arrests.
Pedro Vaca, the special rapporteur for freedom of expression for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), said in a post on Twitter that he was receiving reports of "severe attacks" on the media, allegedly attributed to police deployments.
"I call on the authorities to give public instructions to their agents on the duty to guarantee freedoms of press, peaceful assembly and association," he said.
Violence erupted after a judge detained Camacho on “terrorism” charges” for his involvement in 2019 political unrest that saw then-President Evo Morales leave the country.
Camacho was sentenced to four months of detention Thursday and later transferred to a maximum security prison 25 km away from the capital city of La Paz early Friday morning.
The governor’s office has claimed that Camacho had been “kidnapped in a completely irregular police operation”, but the state attorney’s office rejected the allegations that the arrest was a kidnapping or constituted political persecution.
Camacho is the second high-profile political figure linked to Morales’ ouster to be detained. Former president Jeanine Anez was given a 10-year prison term last year after being found guilty of orchestrating a “coup.”
Speaking during the virtual hearing, held in the La Paz police station, Camacho struck a defiant note. State prosecutor Omar Mejillones said holding him in custody was a "precautionary measure."