Ortega Declares Marches “illegal” and Imposes a Police State
“The individuals and organizations that call for these illegal displacements will be brought to justice,” threatens the Police.
After repressing, murdering, persecuting and imprisoning hundreds of citizens, the Ortega regime intends to silence the civic protests against the government of Daniel Ortega, through a police order that threatens to prosecute individuals and organizations that call any demonstration of civic protest, which are now declared “illegal”.
“They will be held responsible and brought to justice, both the people and organizations that summon these illegal displacements which they have promoted or are trying to promote unlawful, destructive and criminal actions,” indicates the police in a press note disseminated through government media.
The ban takes place on the eve of a new civic protests march in Managua, this Saturday, at two in the afternoon, under the slogan: “March in rebellion, we have no president.”
Experts in Constitutional Law, human rights defenders and opposition activists reject this police threat, because it violates the Nicaraguan Constitution and attributes to the Police faculties it does not have.
“It is a governmental act to criminalize citizens’ protests. They want to make a fundamental right into a crime,” assures Azahlea Solis, an attorney and expert in Constitutional Law and member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.
Elvira Cuadra, sociologist and researcher on issues of citizen security issues and a former policewoman, maintains that in Nicaragua “with this prohibition, a state of emergency is being installed.”
Attorney and former opposition legislator, Jose Pallais, noted that the threat by the Police is “affecting fundamental rights that for their exercise do not require any administrative authorization because such would restrict a basic constitutional right, the right to protest.”
“We are living a total radicalization, which forgets that the Nicaraguan people are persistent and have survived all kinds of repression,” says Pallais.
In its press note, the Police blames this month’s violent incidents on the different citizens’ marches, promoted mainly to demand the release of political prisoners of the regime and justice for more than 300 deaths confirmed since 19 April.
These demonstrations have been brutally suppressed by paramilitary groups, which have the protection of the authorities. However, the Police without any evidence accuses the demonstrators of the acts of violence, including the death of Matt Andres Romero, a 16 year old, shot on Sunday, September 23rd.
“The National Police has investigated, investigates, and will formally accuse those who are responsible for material and human damages in the past activities because they constitute very serious crimes against safety, life and public order,” said the Police.
Without mentioning names or identities, the Police blames organizations and people who “have convoked or are convoking these illegal, and not at all peaceful activities” or for any threats, harm or risk to “life, dignity of a human being, or damages to individual or state property.”
“Those that convoke, adds the press note, are responsible and will be brought to justice charged for threats, criminal actions and aggressions that could happen in the development of these activities.”
The Police, headed by Francisco Diaz, son-in-law of the presidential Ortega-Murillo couple, once again does not mention the deaths caused by paramilitary groups, protected by the Police.
The OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reacted to the police threat with a message on its official twitter account that states: “The IACHR receives with great concern the press release from the Nicaraguan National Police which classify demonstrations as illegal and criminalizes calling them. This is contrary to inter-American standards and inhibits the exercise of rights inherent in a democratic society.”
It Violates the Constitution
The lawyer and expert in Constitutional Law, Gabriel Alvarez, notes that the Police violates Articles 53 and 54 of the Constitution regarding the right to peaceful reunion and mobilization by assuming functions that do not correspond to them.
“No authority has more powers than those expressly indicated by law and nothing in the legal framework gives powers to the Police to annul the legitimate rights of citizens,” added Azahalia Solis.
The police threat also violates the constitutional rights to “concentration, demonstration and public mobilization,” and the “right to peaceful assembly, which does not require prior permission,” she added.
The attorney also reiterates that “actions (by the government) already violated the rights of mobilization and expression, but now it is increased with a provision that violates the principle of constitutionality and legality.”
Elvira Cuadra, also adds that “declaring a state of emergency would contradict the narrative that everything is normal and would place the government in a worse position vis-à-vis the international community.”
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Social Movements and Civil Society Organizations, stated in a press release that “the announced criminalization of marches shows how desperate and frustrated is the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.”