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Demonstrators Challenge Daniel Ortega’s State of Siege

Despite the besiegement and repression of the dictatorship, Nicaraguans continue to protest. There were demonstrations in Tipitapa, Managua and Masaya

About a hundred demonstrators demanding the release of political prisoners, were cordoned off at a coffee shop on the “Carretera a Masaya” (Road to Masaya) by a large contingent of riot police and paramilitaries at the service of the Ortega dictatorship.

Sit-in in “Camino de Oriente”

With balloons and blue and white flags, dozens of Nicaraguans protest in front of a large group of riot police. Photo: Carlos Herrera

The Police and paramilitaries took control of the place from 10 am this Saturday and remained on the site until 4:00 p.m. when the last protestor left..

With balloons and blue and white flags, dozens of Nicaraguans protest in front of a large group of riot police. Photo: Carlos Herrera

Some of the more visible figures of the opposition participated in the sit-in: Juan Sebastian Chamorro and Lesther Aleman, of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy; Felix Maradiaga and Violeta Granera, of the Blue and White National Unity, as well as released political prisoners such as Levis Rugama, Dilon Zeledon and Victoria Obando, among others.

Harassment of parents of Richard Pavon, the first youngster killed

Meanwhile in Tipitapa, on the outskirts of Managua, relatives of the more than 138 political prisoners who continue in the jails of the dictatorship, tried to protest demanding the release of the inmates, but a contingent of police, riot police and paramilitaries blocked their passage to the prison gates.

In addition, Carlos Pavon, father of the teenager Richard Pavon, killed by the dictatorship in April 2018, told Confidencial that since early morning two police patrols with 18 officers were stationed at the entrance of their home—only a few meters from “La Modelo” prison—to harass him.

“My family and I locked ourselves up and they approached the gate to tell me that they wanted to talk to me and to let them in,” Pavon said.

“Why am I going to let you in? Show me a warrant”, he told them.

“And, what are you afraid of”, challenged a police officer.

“Nothing, fear was taken away from me when my son was killed”, he replied.

Subsequently, according to Pavon, the patrols withdrew and left only two agents in front of his house, who passed the time provoking him all morning, telling him not to look at them.

Improvised sit-in due to police blockade

In Managua, before the opponents tried to leave the grounds of the coffee shop, several riot agents told reporters sarcastically when they approached them to take pictures, that there were only 300 special troops in that place.

Although they had the site under control, they failed to prevent each of the opponents from entering. What they did not allow was for them to go out to protest on the “Carretera a Masaya” as was their intention.

At 12 noon everyone placed themselves on the north side of the coffee shop to wave the flag, shout slogans and ask for the release of the prisoners and the dictator’s departure.

Victoria Obando

The former political prisoner Victoria Obando, during the sit-in Camino de Oriente. Photo: Carlos Herrera

Lesther Alemán, the 21-year-old who a few weeks ago returned to the country after a year in exile, started to speak with his characteristic voice of an announcer—the same one that asked the dictator during the first dialogue (in May 2018) to surrender—began to pray. Asking God to protect us during this day of protest.

At the end of the day, there were no wounded and no one imprisoned, according to Jonathan Lopez, the young ex-political prisoner, who was on the organizing committee for the protests this Saturday.

Assaulted in front of the Police

It was only reported that a young man was assaulted in broad daylight and in view of the Police. The young activist was filming the police deployment with his cell phone when a paramilitary tried to hit him and snatch his cellphone. He ran and kept recording, but another paramilitary grabbed him from behind. The young man defended himself but was immediately attacked by another member of the government’s shock forces.

The cellphone was stolen and the transit policemen, who were directing traffic in the “Carretera a Masaya,” were making fun of him, as a group of journalists observed who were cordoned off several meters away by riot police so that they would not get close and record the paramilitary assailants.

Maradiaga: “It is a defeat for the dictatorship”

“This is a defeat for the dictatorship,” said Felix Maradiaga, who returned from exile several weeks ago. “Despite the harassment, people went out to protest,” he assessed.

Maradiaga said that amidst the harassment, they were able to tell the Police that they are also part of the people and that they shouldn’t continue defending a dictator.

At the end of the day three demonstrations were reported. One in Tipitapa, the one from Managua and one in Masaya in the Saint Michael Church, led by the teacher Gabriel Potoy, a former political prisoner of the dictatorship.

A social media broadcast showed Potoy taking refuge in the church that father Edwin Roman directs when under police and paramilitaries harassment.

In the protests in Managua, the humor and bravery of the Masayas was also visible. A young man stole the show with a mask of Rosario Murillo, the powerful First Lady and Vice President who co-governs with Ortega.

Costume of Rosario Murillo

One protestor dressed up as Rosario Murillo, the First Lady and Vice President. // Photo: Carlos Herrera

“Here we are, the Masayas, the ones from Monimbo, present, protesting, asking for justice for our murdered brothers and for the departure of this criminal dictatorship,” the young man said.

The Ortega dictatorship is accused of national and international human rights organizations of killing 328 persons since April 2018, and of keeping a state of siege in the country without allowing protests since over 13 months ago.

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