Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles dared President Nicolas Maduro to imprison him and not his supporters, after confirming that one of them was arrested Friday night under orders of the chief executive, whom he called a coward.

"Come after me because here I am. I've told you more than once: You want to put me in jail? Go ahead!," he said in his challenge to Maduro during a speech in Caracas on a day of street protests against the president.

Capriles had previously gone on Twitter to slam the detention of Alejandro Silva, coordinator of his appearances and activities around the country, after Maduro ordered the capture of "two operators" that he only identified as opposition activists.

Those "two operators" were from the opposition parties Primero Justicia (PJ) and Voluntad Popular (VP), who, Maduro said, "were detected" when they tried to hire motorcyclists to attack Saturday's opposition demonstrations disguised as ruling party activists.

"They're looking for a try and light the fuse to violence, but we won't let them," he said.

Capriles said that cowards "attack from the sides and from the back," and said that his collaborator was arrested in a Caracas hotel "at gunpoint and with blows" by soldiers of the DIM military intelligence agency "at 2 o'clock in the morning."

"That's the hour when cowards are at work - in the night, the way criminals work," but really "they want me" in jail, he said, and again defied the president: "Maduro, don't be a coward." EFE