“Express Protests” Challenge Police State in Nicaragua

While Ortega makes promises in the dialogue, in the streets he continues repressing.

In several cities of the country citizens took to the streets on Saturday, for two hours, to demand the release of the political prisoners.

“Express” demonstrations were held on Saturday around Managua and other Nicaraguan cities.


By Wilfredo Miranda Aburto  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Dozens of lightning protests led by citizens dressed in blue and white on Saturday challenged the police state in Nicaragua, which once again tried to silence the peaceful protests against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

Contrary to last Saturday, when 161 citizens were arrested by the police in the capital, this time the demonstration did not focus on a single place. The Blue and White National Unity movement called for “express or lightning protests” in different parts of Managua and in other departments of the country.

Despite the fact that the police deployed riot police throughout Managua, citizens managed to evade the pretension to censure the civic expression in the streets. “Protests” were registered in different parts of the capital: in the vicinity of the Ivan Montenegro market, Bello Horizonte, Santo Domingo, Las Colinas, Club Terraza, and in the Galerias Santo Domingo and Metrocentro shopping malls.

Demonstrations were also reported in the cities of Matagalpa, Leon, Chinandega, Granada, Rivas and Bluefields.

Like a week before, it was at the Metrocentro mall where the largest number of people gathered. From two o´clock in the afternoon the citizens began to arrive and displayed their Nicaraguan flags in the parking lot of the shopping center. Immediately, hundreds of riot police surrounded the building.

Commissioner Juan Valle was in charge of directing the harassment against the citizens sheltered in Metrocentro. Prior to the deployment of police troops in Managua, the Police issued a statement threatening to “file charges” against those “who disturb public order.”

Citizens took to the streets to protest against the Ortega-Murillo regime. Carlos Herrrera / Confidencial

“The Police fulfills its constitutional duty to guarantee security and citizen tranquility, as well as establish responsibilities and charges against those who seek to alter the peace and coexistence characteristic of our people, our culture and tradition,” warned the police statement.

Despite the threat by the police submissive to the dictates of the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship, the “express sit-ins” lasted more than two hours in Managua. “Daniel, genocidal, we want you out,” chanted the demonstrators in Metrocentro. The Police threatened the demonstrators with their rifles from the street, outside the shopping center perimeter.

Violeta Granera, member of the Blue and White Unity movement, describes the “express sit-ins” as “highly positive,” because despite the explicit prohibition of the Police, “the citizenship demonstrated that the dictatorship has lost any authority to repress the exercise of citizens’ rights.” “The Nicaraguan people are still mobilized and determined to challenge the power of Ortega,” Granera told Confidencial.

The peaceful protest, known as “A la calle” (To the streets), are part of the call to resume citizens’ protest in the streets “until the regime is gone.” “Long live Nicaragua,” “What do the people want? That the delinquent goes away,” “That they are leaving, they are leaving!” “The people united, will never be defeated,” protesters shouted among other slogans. The “express sit-ins” also advocated the release of the at least 760 political prisoners maintained by the regime.

Dictatorship contradicts itself in the dialogue and in the street

The police repression continues unmoved despite the fact that the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship has committed itself to the dialogue table —before the Vatican Nuncio, the Organization of American States and the Civic Alliance—, to free all political prisoners and to discuss “strengthening the rights and citizen guarantees.”

“It is absolutely contradictory that Ortega talks about negotiation while continuing to repress. I believe that the Alliance must evaluate in light of these facts Ortega’s true willingness to negotiate. And act accordingly and firmly,” Granera recommended.

Granera further said the country requires a “departure of the dictatorship without major traumas.” It would be very serious for the citizens to lose confidence in the dialogue process. I would like more firmness. If Ortega does not respect freedoms and human rights already, we can only doubt his willingness to respect any agreement,” Granera assured.

Besides working on a timetable for the release of all political prisoners, on the agenda of the negotiations in Managua to resume today, is discussing “citizens’ rights and guarantees,” according to Jose Pallais, member of the Civic Alliance negotiating team. According to him, for the Alliance this is a priority issue. However, to date, the regime has not shown any signs of goodwill with the police still in the streets repressing citizens.