Nicaragua: Attack on the “March of Flowers” Leaves 1 Dead, 10 Wounded


Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans returned to the streets despite the paramilitary groups associated with the Ortega regime terrorizing the population

By Wilfredo Miranda Aburto  (Confidencial)

One of the wounded on Saturday being taken to the hospital. Photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans participated in the “La Marcha de las Flores”, dedicated to the 20 children and teenagers killed in the repression unleashed by the government of Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo over the last 10 weeks.

The march ended with one protestor dead and 10 wounded when a part of the non-violent march was attacked with bullets by an armed group that the day before had invaded a 9-hectare property belonging to the Coen Group.

Once again armed groups associated with Daniel Ortega’s regime attacked a massive peaceful march. The aggression occurred on the Jean Paul Genie avenue where Luis Ortiz Martinez was wounded and died soon after at the Vivan Pellas Hospital.

The first attack of the day had happened at 9:30 in the morning in the vicinity of the National Autonomous University (UNAN-Managua), taken over by students since early in May. Two police patrols opened fire on the barricade located near the entrance to the Lomas de Monserrat district, north of the Rigoberto López Pérez roundabout.

University students told Confidencial that at that time they were receiving food donations when the officers fired from the patrols. Isaias Emilio Portocarrero, 20, and originally from Masatepe, was shot in the head.

Portocarrero was known in the Arlen Siu trench of UNAN-Managua as “the cat”. The young man was new to the university resistance. Only three days ago he had joined the trenches.

Portocarrero was transferred to the Vivian Pellas Hospital, where he was treated urgently. However, medical sources told Confidencial that there was little to do for him. His clinical picture was reserved, and he soon fell into brain death. “This young man will probably die,” said one of the doctors.

A couple of hours later, after the news of the attack on the UNAN-Managua became known by people in the march, some of the demonstrators decided to abandon the concert given by Carlos Mejía Godoy at the Jean Paul Genie roundabout and head towards the university.

But they did not get very far. Six hundred meters to the west they were attacked with firearms by people who, under the protection of the government, took over the land owned by the Coen Group on Friday. [Pierre Coen is one of the many private business people who have supported the citizen protests and have had their properties invaded in recent days by armed groups allegedly sent by the governing party.]

The protesters, [armed only with homemade mortars] recoiled at first, but then they faced the attack. They managed to corner their attackers who continued firing shots. However, before stopping them, several of the protestors were wounded. Harold Soza, a paramedic of the rapid intervention brigade, attended with his team to nine persons hit by bullets.

Screen shot of one of the first wounded who left the conclusion of the March of the Flowers in route to the UNAN University.

Most of the injured were young, including a woman, and were transferred to the Vivian Pellas Hospital. Citizens claimed that the attack escalated after three Hi-Lux pick-up trucks came to reinforce the land grabbers. The Confidencial team, however, could not corroborate this information.

A motorcycle brought one of the most seriously wounded to the outskirts of the parking lot of Galería Santo Domingo Mall, where the paramedics were providing first aid care.

Doctors of the Vivian Pellas confirmed that it was a wound by firearm in the skull, which caused the young man – whose identity which was not available – brain death.

The Meseni team of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) went to the Vivian Pellas Hospital to learn the situation of the wounded, and they also confirmed the two brain deaths. The IACHR today urged the State of Nicaragua to guarantee the lives of those who are in favor of, or against, the government of President Daniel Ortega.

The “IACHR is receiving information about shots against demonstrators of (the opposition) “Marcha de las Flores” in Managua, Nicaragua. Provisional information indicates at least three injured, “said that agency early on through Twitter. “The IACHR emphatically urges the State of Nicaragua to guarantee the life and integrity of all the protesters,” he added.

The tension continued past midday in the area of the Galerias Santo Domingo Mall and in Villa Fontana, near the back doors of the UNAN-Managua.

This is not the first time that armed groups linked to the Ortega government have attacked a peaceful march. On May 30th, both Police officers and paramilitaries pointed their rifles at “the mother of all the marches”, unleashing what became the Mother’s Day massacre.

Citizens attacked the “land grabbers” with mortars. Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidential

Citizens managed to capture and neutralize one of the attackers that opened fire. The man said that they had promised him a “piece of land”, and that he lives in the Maria Auxiliadora neighborhood.

The social and political crisis has left more than 212 dead in Nicaragua, according to the most recent report of the IACHR. Although organizations such as the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH) indicate 286 murdered.

The “March of Flowers”, organized by numerous civic organizations, left the Plaza de las Victorias (center) for the Jean Paul Genie roundabout. It involved mothers, students and the general population, most of them carrying flags of Nicaragua, crosses and flowers in memory of the numerous children and teens killed during the over two months of protests in different cities of the country.

The march had been originally scheduled for Saturday June 23rd, but was suspended due to insecurity in different parts of the country.