Venezuela’s opposition coalition says four activists from two of its political parties have been detained in recent days as tensions rise ahead of a July presidential contest.

The opposition says the four were arrested between Friday and Monday by security forces, who have accused them of instigating hate and conspiracy.

One of the four was later released on Monday evening.

In a live broadcast on social media, Opposition Presidential candidate Edmundo Gonzalez denounced what he calls a new attack by the government. 

The detentions of the four activists and a journalist, Luis Lopez, come amid favourable polling for Gonzalez.

He has been tapped as the opposition candidate after Venezuela’s top court upheld a ban on holding public office for its primary winner, Maria Corina Machado.

President Nicolas Maduro, who is seeking a third term, was favoured by around 30% in a recent poll, compared to Gonzalez’s support of 50%.

Thirty-seven activists have been detained so far this year.