Nicaragua’s opposition said at least 67 people were arrested after defying a protest ban and a heavy riot police presence on the streets of Managua to mark the first anniversary of a deadly uprising against President Daniel Ortega.
The opposition National Unity Blue and White (UNAB) coalition gathered in the south of the capital, planning to march on the centre, but was unable to do so due to the heavy police presence.
“The people will never be defeated,” shouted protesters. “Freedom for political prisoners,” they added from a roundabout in the south of the capital.
Journalist Abixael Mogollon from the “Articulo 66” website was among those arrested while transmitting live from the protest, UNAB said.
Articulo 66 director Alvaro Navarro said Mogollon was released a few hours later, but only after he’d been beaten and had his equipment confiscated.
Six of those arrested were freed, according to the opposition.
Protests first broke out on April 18 last year, initially against a now scrapped pension reform.
A brutal crackdown by Ortega’s troops over the next four months left 325 dead, 800 in prison and thousands in exile.
UNAB had sent out a call to demonstrate under the slogan: “We’re all April.”
Police surrounded the protesters and journalists covering the demonstration amid an atmosphere of high tension, AFP reporters said.
Police had banned the rally, claiming the organisers were already “implicated in serious public order troubles” and warning “those who want to destroy peace.”
On Wednesday morning, armed police and paramilitary groups took up strategic positions in the capital.
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