CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Leading Venezuela opposition leader Henrique Capriles announced Friday that he has been banned from running for office for 15 years, a move sure to ratchet up tensions amid a growing street protest movement.
Capriles reported the ban on his Twitter account. There was no immediate comment from the government. Leaders in the ruling socialist party had accused Capriles in recent days of stoking violence through his leadership of a week of near-daily protests, many of which have ended in tear gas and rubber bullets.
President Nicolas Maduro called out Capriles on his television show Thursday night, after tens of thousands of Venezuelans shut down Caracas with a march against the socialist administration. He said followers of "little Capriles" were seeking a bloodbath.
Capriles responded to the ban on Thursday, saying, "The only one who is disqualified here is you, Nicolas Maduro. You and your circle of corrupt drug traffickers."
The move against Capriles is part of a broader government crackdown this week that included detentions at marches and threats against party leaders.