AP NEWS

Demonstrators reported arrested, wounded in Nicaragua

March 31, 2019
FILE - In this March 16, 2019 file photo, police detain protesters in Managua, Nicaragua. Nicaraguan government negotiators have signed an agreement on Friday, March 29, ratifying their commitment to free hundreds of people considered political prisoners by the opposition. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga, File )

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — An opposition group said that Nicaraguan police arrested several anti-government demonstrators and that three were wounded by gunfire on Saturday, just a day after official negotiators promised to release people detained in earlier protests and to permit demonstrations.

Haydee Castillo, part of the leadership of the National White and Blue Union, said riot police arrested 10 peaceful demonstrators at a shopping center and said at least three protesters were hit by gunfire as they tried to flee from police. She said another protester was arrested in the city of Leon.

The National Police did not report the number arrested, but said “violent groups” disturbed public order and later attacked an armed man it said was the victim of an attempted lynching.

A day earlier, negotiators for President Daniel Ortega signed agreements with the Civic Alliance opposition coalition ratifying commitments to release and drop charges against hundreds of people considered political prisoners by the opposition. They also promised freedom to demonstrate following months in which even small protests have often been broken up by police.

The Civic Alliance issued a statement saying the government “violated the agreement” with Saturday’s new arrests and several Catholic Church leaders denounced the action.

“It is outrageous that once again in Nicaragua police and violent civilians attack, arrest and injure civilians who are demonstrating peacefully,” said Silvio Baez, the auxiliary bishop of Managua.

The opposition says more than 640 people are being held for political causes, jailed in protests that broke out in April against Ortega’s government.

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission says 325 people have died in the protests and more than 50,000 have fled the country.