Bolivian mayor makes public apology to avoid complaint for grabbing woman's thigh on TV

A popular Bolivian mayor has had to make a televised apology for grabbing the thigh of a woman during a broadcast event.

Santa Cruz Mayor Percy Fernandez expressed "anguish for this mess that's been created," and said he had not intended to offend journalist Mercedes Guzman. He did not specifically apologize for touching her.

Television images show Guzman struggling visibly to lift the mayor's hand from her thigh during a public appearance.

Several legislators, journalists' organizations and women's rights activists denounced the 75-year-old mayor and Guzman's husband demanded Monday night's public apology, threatening to file a legal complaint otherwise.

Fernandez has run into controversy before for running his hand over a woman's backside at one event and forcing a kiss on another.