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Nicaragua: Repression Continues Despite Ortega’s Pledge to Respect Liberties

Three wounded by bullets shot by Sandinista fanatic. The police do nothing to stop him and now describes him as a victim, altering the facts.

Less than 24 hours after the regime of Daniel Ortega committed itself to respect civil and political rights of Nicaraguans, a governing party (FSLN) militant fired on a demonstration inside the Metrocentro mall in Managua, seriously wounding three people.

Meanwhile, the National Police besiege and repressed the protest, arresting eleven people with violence and did not act to stop the gunman, who it now describes as a victim.

The shooting occurred when a group of Sandinista sympathizers, backed up from the street by the Police, threw stones at the demonstrators inside the mall parking area.

The protesters also responded by throwing stones, and suddenly, a man identified as German Felix Davila Blanco, came out of one of the stores and fired on the demonstrators.

At the time the shots were fired, the Police had surrounded the perimeter of the mall, but the officers did nothing to capture the perpetrator, so the protesters attacked the aggressor.

Simultaneously, two of the injured were transported in a private car to the Vivian Pellas Hospital, minutes later two ambulances of the Nicaraguan Red Cross (CRN) took the third injured and the attacker to the same hospital.

According to the police version, the shooting occurred “at the moment of the aggression” of the protesters to the Sandinista militant German Davila; however, it does not explain why they did not act to restore order and arrest the gunman.

The Blue and White National Unity movement, which called for the protest, regretted the events that took place and confirmed the number of the wounded and detainees. “We demand that the Government respect the rights of Nicaraguans. We demand the immediate release of the people who have been arrested and an immediate cease to the besiegement of people who protest civically in different parts of the country,” the organization said in a statement.

Protesters assaulted by the Police

Minutes before the shooting, part of the demonstrators, who were in the Metrocentro parking lot, went out to the street with their blue and white flags to demand justice. They were beaten and kicked by riot policemen. At that time, several were dragged away by the Police.

One of the arrested was Flor Ramirez, who has become a symbol of the protests for wearing her traditional dress and dancing folklore during demonstrations. Minutes before being taken by force, Ramirez raised her voice to express her distrust in the agreements signed the day before, between the Civic Alliance and the dictatorship, since to her “seeing is believing, because Daniel Ortega is a liar, who has cheated us, has destroyed our lives and as a liar will not comply,” she said.

A journalist of the Telenorte Channel in Esteli, Nelson Sequeira, was also dragged by the officers, and while trying to escape from his attackers his cell-phone, valued at 800 dollars, was stolen by them. The team of “Noticiero Accion 10”, Valeska Rivera and Erasmo Hernandez, were also physically assaulted by the Police.

In addition to the protest in Metrocentro, small sit-ins were held in the Galerias Santo Domingo mall, where journalist Emiliano Chamorro, of La Prensa, was verbally attacked by Sandinista sympathizers. There were also demonstrations in Tipitapa, Teustepe, Mataglpa and Leon.

Condemnation and rejection of government aggression

The Catholic bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua lamented the events that took place in Metrocentro, where a Sandinista Front militant fired five shots at a group of demonstrators and the National Police besieged, assaulted and took at least seven persons in custody there.

The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) also condemned the injuries that the aggressor caused to three people and similarly the beating that the demonstrators gave to the gunman. The “State of Nicaragua must not allow the intervention of armed civilians or the excessive use of police force in demonstrations,” the organization stressed.

The Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy likewise condemned the events and described them as “a flagrant violation of the rights of people who had met peacefully in Metrocentro.”

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, also called on “the Government of Nicaragua to respect and protect the right to protest of Nicaraguans.”

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