At least 10 people are dead–among them two children — and 20 were injured on Sunday by police and paramilitaries that targeted the Nicaraguan city of Masaya. Police and authorities used lethal force against civilian protesters over the weekend says the United Nation’s human rights office as it called for an end to violence. Civil unrest in Nicaragua has only worsened in the two months since protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega began.
The U.S. State Department and the United Nations have condemned the continued violence that began in April.
Ortega's pro goverment group in Nicaragua are attacking a catholic church in Masaya, this church only serves people, they had Masaya surrounded and opened fire. Ortega is about to kill a lot of people in Masaya we need @CNN @RosLehtinen help Nicaragua. #SOSNicaragua @CIDH pic.twitter.com/znm7QvTDOf
— Viva Nicaragua Libre (@vivaNicaragua12) July 17, 2018
This past weekend there was attacks against more than 200 Nicaraguan university students. The students had sought refuge in a church after police forced them out of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, which had been occupied during two months of protests against the government of President Ortega.
Rupert Colville, the United Nations human rights office spokesman, said the turmoil in the streets must end. “The violence is all more horrific as armed elements loyal to the government are operating with the active or tacit support of the police and other state authorities.” he told the LA Times.
Police have launched raids to clear protesters in the city of Masaya, the battleground of the uprising in Nicaragua.
We strongly urge President Ortega not to attack Masaya. Continued gov’t-instigated violence and bloodshed in #Nicaragua must end immediately. The world is watching.
— Francisco Palmieri (@WHAAsstSecty) July 17, 2018
According to Al Jezeera, government forces began advancing on Masaya’s Monimbo neighborhood and had largely regained control of it for the first time since massive protests began. The Monimbo neighborhood holds special significance in the Nicaraguan consciousness because it was the place of the Sandinista Revolution in the 1970s. That revolution was led by President Ortega and has now become the epicenter of anti-government sentiment again.
Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is Ortega’s wife, said Monday it was necessary to clear out Monimbo and Masaya. The U.S. warned Ortega against pursuing the assault on Masaya as it called for a halt to the deadly crackdown on anti-government protests.
The violence in Nicaragua has gotten global attention with many asking for peace in the streets.
At least one person was killed during anti-government protests in Nicaragua pic.twitter.com/FjDyxJfOEr
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 16, 2018
The United Nations Secretary-General called on the Nicaraguan government to stop the violence against demonstrators. Around 280 people have died during the unrest in Nicaragua. Protesters and international organizations are calling for a national “political dialogue” to end the deadly crisis.
“The Nicaraguan government must stop the massacre of students and civil society,” tweeted Carlos Trujillo, the U.S. representative at the Organization of American States. “Those who are responsible for crimes against humanity will be held accountable.”
President Ortega’s government has dismissed opponents as delinquents.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) July 17, 2018
People have taken to the streets demanding President Daniel Ortega step down, in the bloodiest protests in Nicaragua since the country’s civil war ended in 1990. The unrest began, when Ortega proposed reducing pension benefits to ease budgetary pressures. Though the plan was later dropped, it started large protests and calls for Ortega to step down over his government crack down on demonstrators.