Three prominent members of the Civic Alliance opposition group were pushed and struck by riot squad members. Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Maria Asuncion Moreno and student Jason Salazar Rugama were forcibly prevented in this way from entering Masaya on Sunday October 25th.
Juan Sebastian Chamorro directs the Civic Alliance. Maria Moreno is an attorney, and Jasson Salazar works with the University Students’ Movement. The three were taken back to Managua in a police patrol vehicle.
Chamorro denounced that the vehicle in which the three were travelling was stopped by police agents at Piedra Quemada. The police demanded the driver’s documents and “told us we couldn’t go any further.” In protest, the three members of the opposition got out of the car and began to walk. After they’d advanced some hundred yards, the agents once again stopped them and forced them to go back. The three were both pushed and struck during this confrontation.
The opposition leaders asked the agents why they weren’t being allowed to go on to Masaya. The officers responded: “because we were coup plotters and terrorists,” Chamorro recalled. The event was witnessed by residents who were passing by the spot at the moment they were detained. Chamorro declared that this was proof that “the [police] repression is increasing in an accelerated way. Now they’re no longer even allowing citizens to move around.”
Attorney Maria Asuncion Moreno gave a similar account of the events. She said five police cars surrounded them while they were walking. Later, the officials began to strike at them with their shields. “In my case, they got me in the arm and the shoulder,” said Moreno. Meanwhile, Chamorro and Salazar received blows to the shoulder, and a few kicks.
Salazar characterized the police aggression as “one more act of criminalization” against the opposition. He assured that despite the police harassment, the meeting they were headed to in Masaya was held.
Similar police repression in Ocotal
The attack on the Civic Alliance representatives came two days after a similar incident near the northern city of Ocotal. On the way there, 12 highway checkpoints kept National Coalition members from entering the city in the department of Nueva Segovia. The National Coalition members were headed for a meeting with their territorial representatives.
The National Coalition issued a statement denouncing these actions of police officials stationed at the entrance to Ocotal. The police took away the vehicle’s documents and forced them to turn around and return to Managua.
On their way back to the capital, the police again stopped them and detained three of them. Ivania Alvarez, Neyma Hernandez and Bryan Quiroz were taken to the police station in the town of Yalaguina. They were freed hours later.
Medardo Mairena, rotating coordinator of the Coalition declared: “human rights violations continue in Nicaragua. However, we’ll continue resisting and demanding our right to organize and express ourselves.”
The National Coalition “will continue the process of organizing the Territorial Committees. Likewise, it will demand the release of the political prisoners and denounce the regime’s arbitrary actions,” the statement concludes.