“We’re demanding our rights: that we be allowed to demonstrate, and respect for all the freedoms that we have a constitutional right to.”
HAVANA TIMES – A group of protesters known as the “Red Lips Nicaraguan Women’s Organization” gathered on October 14, to protest against President Daniel Ortega, a year after they’d gone to jail for a similar action, within the framework of the national crisis.
The “red lips” carried Nicaraguan flags and staged their brief protest in the area around a Managua supermarket, the same place where they were captured, beaten, dragged and arrested by the National Police 12 months previously.
“We’re demanding our rights, that we be allowed to demonstrate, that we be allowed all the liberties that we have a constitutional right to,” stated opposition activist Mirna Blandon during the demonstration.
Currently, the Nicaraguan Police have a strict prohibition on any signs of opposition to Ortega and on the use of the patriotic symbols. The measure has been criticized by lawyers, who consider it to be contrary to the Constitution.
During the protest, the “red lips” shouted slogans such as “Freedom for the political prisoners”, “Democracy yes, dictatorship no!” and “Long live a free Nicaragua!”
Hundreds of people have died, disappeared or suffered arrest for participating in anti-government protests since the social explosion against Ortega in April 2018.
One well-known figure protesting with the “red lips” group was businessman Jose Dolores Blandino, father of Xiomara Blandino, who’s married to Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, son of President Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo.
“The struggle continues, we remain firm, and we demand freedom for our kidnapped [prisoners] and we’re showing that there are more of us,” said Blandino, who was also arrested a year ago.
The detention of Blandon and more than 20 others in the 2018 demonstration became notorious after they’d been booked into jail, and veteran journalist Marlen Chow and her companions in the group put on bright red lipstick. When the officials asked them what terrorist band they belonged to, they responded, “to the Red Lips Nicaraguan Women’s Organization.”
The group was freed a day later, and the red lips became a symbol of opposition to Ortega; women as well as men have turned to this symbol, and posted pictures of themselves with bright red lips.
In order to avoid another arrest, this time the “red lips” carried out a “flash picket”, a tactic consisting of protests that only last two minutes, so as not to give the Police any opportunity to act.