Snapshot video of the moment when police officers, led by Chief Commissioner Angel Martin Solorzano, illegally force the end of an opposition meeting in Matagalpa.

Police arrest youth leader Ivania Alvarez in her hotel room and burst into Coalition meeting; leaders in Managua denounce “city as prison”.

By Ivan Olivares (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The voice of Chief Commissioner Angel Martin Solorzano resounded on social networks saying: “all of you out. I give you five minutes. This [meeting] has not been authorized. Five minutes! This led former deputy Jose Pallais, a member of the National Committee of the National Coalition, to say it was a sign of “complete despair.”

The scene occurred on Sunday in a meeting room in the city of Matagalpa, where a score of citizens managed to arrive to create the Departmental Committee of the National Coalition.

When the police officer Solorzano ordered the opponents to leave, a voice replied: “Nicaragua is free, brother, or are we in a prison?” The policeman refused to give any reasons. He limited himself to play the role of repeating the same order he himself stated. “Five minutes! I won’t say anything more. Five minutes!”

In Matagalpa, several local leaders were not allowed to leave their homes to attend the meeting. Meanwhile Ivania Alvarez, a member of the UNAB Political Council, was beaten and forced to leave the hotel room where she was staying in Matagalpa, along other young activists. They were in the city to participate in the set up of the Departmental Committee of the Coalition.

“They are attacking our citizen’s right to organize, but that won’t stop us. We will continue to resist. We will continue to go to the departments to organize citizens or be part of this organization. Ortega, now more than ever, fears citizens organizing,” said one of Alvarez’s companions in a video that circulated on networks.

He said: “They are pushing us out of the city of Matagalpa, as if we were criminals, but we are not. We are activists seeking the democratization of this country, which we will achieved when we remove Ortega. These things don’t frighten us. To the contrary, they give us strength to carry on resisting in this country, where all human rights are violated”

“Five minutes!” The Police Chief Solorzano is heard shouting.

After 27 seconds of verbal resistance, from the presiding table, a voice is heard saying: “stand-up,” and proceeds to induct: “Before God, for our homeland, do you promise to fulfill and enforce the statutes, principles, and objectives of the National Coalition?”

In unison, a loud and determined shout cries out “yes, I promise!” So, the police intrusion did not prevent the members of the Committee from being sworn in, even within the five-minute period granted by the uniformed officer.

“You are in possession of your positions,” responds the delegated authority. They responded at once: “Long Live a Free Nicaragua!”

Managua as a prison

For over two years, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, has exercised various forms of repression against citizens who demand the ouster of both, to begin the democratization of the country. In recent weeks, the aggression is embodied against local and national opposition leaders. These try to meet in various cities of the country to constitute municipal or departmental committees.

Attorney Pallais noted that the regime is employing more comprehensive strategies to prevent citizens from organizing.

“Today they used all the tactics at their disposal to make the meetings impossible. Some leaders were not allowed to leave Managua; others were not allowed to enter Matagalpa. Those who were already in the city were thrown out from the hotel. Those who live in Matagalpa, were not allowed to leave their homes, and those who were already at the meeting, were expelled from the premises,” he explained.

His conclusion is that “they are escalating measures,” because “despite preventing national leaders from reaching cities and locals from going to meetings, people always go. That is why they went so far as to dissolve the indoor meeting. However, the people remained organized, taking advantage of the minutes they were given to form the departmental committee.”

“Is the totalitarian logic to use all the force to prevent a simple meeting?” Pallais questioned. He recalled that “they must call for elections this week,” [one year before the scheduled date]. “How are they going to do it, if they prevent the right to organize, to mobilize, and to meet, even indoors?”

In several ways, the scene was repeated in various parts of the country, to prevent the meeting in Matagalpa. As Pallais said, the regime prevented some leaders from even leaving Managua, to be present in Matagalpa.

That was the case of Felix Maradiaga, and the team that accompanied him. The opposition leader denounced that “they imposed a physical wall of officers on the road,” to prevent them from continuing their journey to Matagalpa.

“We continue in this unfortunate situation, in which we have the city of Managua as a prison,” he noted. “They are not allowing us to move to the department where we had an activity today. I am sure that despite these impediments people will continue to organize.”

Maradiaga promised to maintain the civic struggle, stating that “this is unacceptable, unacceptable, but we are going to keep trying.”

Read more news from Nicaragua here.


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