In Matagalpa, Montes Mourned by fellow Citizens Surrounded by Riot Police.

On Saturday afternoon, mourners gathered at the Church of San Felipe de Molagüina in Matagalpa, to await the arrival of the body of Eddy Montes. Mr. Montés, a political prisoner, was gunned down by a guard at the Modelo Prison in Tipitapa, Nicaragua.

As the citizens of Matagalpa learned the news, several opted to picket, demanding justice for Mr. Montes. These two videos of a picket were shared on Thursday evening

By Friday, the police had mobilized a large contingent of uniformed and special operations officers to  Matagalpa. In the words of one citizen observing and filming the deployment, the “Ortega-Murillo regime has the city of Matagalpa totally militarized. […] They are afraid that we will rise.”

Radio Voz, a community radio station in Matagalpa, also shared images of the police deployment in the city.

This video shows a police caravan driving into the city. The person who shot it describes seeing at least 10 vehicles, carrying a “shit ton of riot police.”

The following day, Saturday, police surrounded the Church of San Felipe de Molagüina, where they intimidated, harassed, and attacked people gathered there to protest, while awaiting the arrival of the body. Radio Vos documented and broadcasted the initial police deployment, as officers surrounded the church. The video broadcast though Facebook Live is nearly an hour in length. According to Radio Voz, the police tried to enter the church three times.

Members of the Montes family also came out, demanding protest, as shown in this video posted by Radio Vos.

Throughout the afternoon, the bells of San Felipe rang as a warning to citizens. The following videos show different angles of the police deployment.

At least one person was wounded as a result of the police attack against protesters who took shelter within the San Felipe’s perimeter.

Nevertheless, the police was unable to disperse the crowd. People resisted, prayed, and knelt with outstretched hands, facing the heavily armed and shielded riot officers.

Women, in particular, took the lead, resisting peacefully and praying.

This unidentified woman pleaded with police officers. “You are our brothers. Please, no more deaths! I know you don’t want to be here, just like we don’t want to be here. We beg of you, peace! Respect for the dead. Respect for your families. We beg you, please.”

In spite of police harassment and intimidation, Nicaraguan citizens remain at the Church throughout the afternoon and into the night. The body of Mr. Montes is expected to arrive at around midnight, local time, after an independent autopsy was performed by request of Mr. Montes’ family. This video shows people inside San Felipe, singing “Nicaragua Mia”, a popular song by Tino López Guerra.

Mourners built a shrine honoring Mr. Montes inside the church.

Mr. Montes’ body was released from the Instituto de Medicina Legal, Nicaragua’s forensic institute, late on Saturday evening. Radio Corporación sent journalist Marcos Medina to cover Mr. Montes’ final voyage to Matagalpa. Medina described how the vehicle carrying Mr. Montes’s body received a police escort, which would accompany it to the departmental border between Managua and Matagalpa. Medina also described a black pick up truck that had been harassing and following journalists covering Montes’ funeral. The black Toyota pick-up appears at around the half-way mark of this video.

At approximately 12:00 AM, local time, police presence seems to have lessened, though some officers can be seen on this video. Mr. Montes’ body is expected within the hour.

At approximately 12:30 AM, local time, Mr. Montes’ body arrived and was brought into the church. Citizens received him the national anthem and chants of “Eddy Montes, Presente”, “Justice for Eddy Montes”, and anti-Ortega slogans. There was also a moment of silence in his memory.

The Movimiento Autoconvocado de Matagalpa, a group of self-organized resisters, broadcast via Facebook Live. The video is approximately 30 minutes long.

Mr. Montes’ funeral is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, at the Cathedral of Matagalpa.

1 Comment

  1. Carmen C Pelham

    Excellent summary!

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