On Holy Wednesday, Nicaraguans March on Managua, as Ortega-Murillo Police Crack Down Again.


Final update: Police says “Nothing Happened Here.”

In spite of citizen and media video, audio, and images showing the magnitude of the police repressive response against the #SomosAbril protesters, the police issued a press release denying that anything had happened in Managua this afternoon.

Police commissioner Jaime Vanegas read the statement

The statement reads as follows (my translation):

Due to inaccurate and defamatory news reports, the National Police informs our People and the International Community that there were neither incidents nor detainees during the UNAUTHORIZED ACTIVITY organized by an entity that lacks legal personhood.

The National Police reiterates to our People and to the International Community that not a single person has been detained or transported to police units [precincts].

Fifteen people were given a warning and then immediately transported to their homes, where they were received by their families.

We continue carrying out our Constitutional Mission, which is to Guarantee the Security, the free transit, the recreation and the Lives of Nicaraguan Families.

In response to the police, journalist Wilfredo Miranda posted one more video, showing two unidentified women as they were forced onto the back of a police pick up truck. Miranda wrote “for [the police], these detainees don’t count because they were not taken to El Chipote. But there were dozens of detainees and they were just dropped off at random points throughout Managua.”

The team at Café con Voz, the popular political talk show led by journalist Luis Galeano, described the police statement as “beyond the limits of shamelessness. If there were a world championship on cynicism, this would win.”

The rest of this post includes examples of social media monitoring gathered throughout the day. It is organized in reverse chronological order, as is typical of a live blog.




6 PM.: Police Unlawful Dragnet nets Sixty-Eight Kidnappings.

As the afternoon wanes in Managua, local activists are trying to establish the identities and whereabouts of at least 62 people. Many are simply described by gender, place, and time of abduction. For example, this list, shared by Ana Margarita Vijil (MRS) includes the following information:

  • 1 gentleman, around the Teresiano School, at 2:20 pm
  • 2 gentlemen, and one lady, across from the Quetzal, 2:22 pm
  • 1 girl, around Pizza Valenti – 2:27 pm
  • 1 lady, across from Casa del Cafe, 2:27 pm
  • 15 kids, across from the Quetzal, 2:31 pm.

And so on.

At this time, heavy police presence is reported in Jinotepe, where no one marched. However, the police were deployed downtown, at the Central Park across from the Santiago Parish.

As the events in Managua unfold, Mons. Silvio Báez shared editorial cartoons by PxMolina and Manuel Guillén, in lieu of a statement (at least, for now).

The Alianza Cívica issued a statement in response to today’s events. The organization believes that today’s harassment is an obstacle in the way towards a peaceful solution in Nicaragua. “The facts speak louder than one-hundred statements by the government. Over 64 people have been aprehended for expressing their opinion.”

The Alianza adds that “repression is an expression of fear of diversity in thought. The regime fears Nicaraguans who think and act freely. Today, the regime expressed its fear; today, it repeated its repressive pattern. It fit it today, when it learned about the sanctions against its family rule. The sanctions are only a reaction to the repression and continual non-compliance. Avoiding sanctions lies in the hands of those who must liberate all political prisoners and free Nicaragua from their repression.”

At this time, neither the police nor anyone else has released any statements on behalf of the Ortega-Murillo administration. However, the Ortega-Murillo Propaganda Machine simultaneously launched a short video titled “Victoria Popular Ante el Golpe Criminal” (Popular Victory against the Criminal Coup). The video was produced by Juventud Presidente, the communication arm of the Juventud Sandinista. Juventud Presidente is also responsible for a new series that presents the Ortega-Murillo official version of the crisis. The first installment, featuring “the true story of the arson at the Carlos Marx,” premiered last night.





4 PM: Protests Evolve into Picketing, While Police Dragnet Operation Continues.

Journalist Abixael Mogollón, who was abducted by the police while reporting on the UNAB March in Managua, was released a few hours later. Mogollón says he was beaten and robbed by the officers. He also says that four women were detained along with him. According to Mogollón, one of the women was also groped innappropriately. “The [handling] was rough enough to cause one of the women to urinate out of fear.”

Mogollón is only one of at least 20 people who have been arrested for protesting. Many are still unidentified, such as the person in this video.

These two young women were identified as Margine Espinoza and her friend Lidia (no last name given). Espinoza is 17 years old.

Two young women were stopped by paramilitaries. Police arrived later. One of the women is Hilda Salgado.

This “arrest” happened in Los Robles. The person is dragged off a vehicle. A Nicaraguan flag can be spotted in the abductee’s hand.

Jensy Briceño was forced off a bus by a civilian, along with several police officers who were armed. She was carrying a Nicaraguan flag. Briceño was later released.

Scarla Yanira Navarrete and Ruth Estela Garcia are among those who have been unlawfully arrested this afternoon.

Thus far, UNAB has recorded 51 unlawful arrests. Most people are unidentified.

Alianza Civica’s monitoring indicates a lower number of arbitrary detentions, at 32. Most of them are unidentified.

With the police out in force, Nicaraguans have opted for widespread picketing, as it was impossible to march. Images and video are coming in from all over.

People are picketing at the Managua Cathedral. This young man got on the roof.

Managua Cathedral.

This striking image was taken by journalist María Gómez, for Articulo66

This piquete express happened at Carretera Norte

And this one was in the general vicinity of El Nuevo Diario, also on Carretera Norte.

Individuals from the Ortega-Murillo propaganda media have been on site in Managua. They stand alongside the police and can film and record undisturbed.

At this time, the Ortega-Murillo media operation has yet to share a single report from the field. In addition, the official police twitter account, @vppolicial, shared this image, showing volunteers engaged in a campaign to prevent traffic accidents. “They’re making recommendations and placing stickers on vehicles”.




3:00 PM., First Unlawful Arrests Reported. Meanwhile, Ortega-Murillo Propaganda Machine Broadcast “Normalcy”.

Journalist Abixael Mogollon, of Articulo 66, was unlawfully detained by the police as he covered the march. Mogollón was taken as he was broadcasting live, via Facebook. The last thing he says before his abduction is “I’m a journalist”.

There are unconfirmed reports of more unlawful arrests, but no one knows how many people may be involved, as the police are conducting a wholesale, illegal dragnet. Preliminary reports indicate that at least 20 people have been taken. Only Mogollón has been identified.

Witnesses to one of the unlawful arrests tried to get the detainee to yell out his name (this was a recommended security measure). A police officer responded with a punch.

A group of protesters took refuge in the Pellas Building, on Carretera Masaya. The building is sorrounded

This is the group, inside the building. There are around 20 individuals. The group includes some elderly persons. No one has weapons.

Ortega-Murillo media has yet to issue a single report on the march and/or police crackdown. Instead, the media of the Ortega-Murillo propaganda machine on Twitter portray the dictatorship’s preferred version of reality, as seen in these tweets.

El 19 Digital reports on the arrival of a cruise ship

Channel 8 shows a group of Ortega sympathizers launching white balloons (for peace).

And Canal 4 highlights arrivals at the AC Sandino Airport (hopefully, none of these people have hotel reservations downtown).

In contrast, independent media show images of police repression.

Confidencial (latest live broadcast, at around 3 pm). One interviewee says “the people are unarmed, and Daniel Ortega should be ashamed. He is not a president. He is a murderer and a criminal.”





2:00 PM, Managua Time: UNAB and Alianza Begin Sit In at LaFise

UNAB and Alianza Cívica staged a sit in at La Fise, on Carretera Masaya.

Independent media are broadcasting live from Managua, via Facebook. This is the feed from Canal 10 (top choice).

This is Confidencial.

Alianza Universitaria Nicaraguense also shared live video.

Heavy police deployment reported around the Centroamerica Rotonda, meeting point for the march. Video shared by Wilmer Benavides.

Police has also arrived at La Fise and surrounded the area. Reports from Confidencial and other media estimate about 45 police vehicles came down.

The official police Twitter account posted the following: “We are paying attention. We will carry out our commitment to the people, PEACE and SECURITY. The blues (police) are here, there, and everywhere, with the people ensuring tranquility.” The account shared a tweet accusing journalist Mauricio Madrigal (Channel 10, of transporting terrorist to the Masaya highway.

Images from Managua do not show disturbances or terrorism. Protesters are sitting down with hands up, as police surround them.





1 :30 PM, Managua Time: Local Picketing Begins in Chinandega; More Fake Accounts, and IACHR issues Statement

The countdown to UNAB’s march in Managua continues. It is 1:30 pm, local time, and UNAB just shared a report from Corinto, the port city in Chinandega, showing a small picket in the city and in other, unidentified locations in Chinandega.

Small acts of defiance are being reported around the country. This is an image from Estelí, this morning.


In addition, social media accounts continue warning users about provocations, both in virtual and real-world spaces. The Twitter account “Unidad Nicaraguense Autoconvocada” has been flagged as belonging to government provocateurs trying to pass themselves off as members of the MRS, the Sandinista Renovation Movement. Dora María Téllez, of the MRS, has denounced the account as fake.

Meanwhile, from its headquarters in Washington, DC, the Inter American Commission for Human Rights has issued a press statement, reiterating its commitment to the victims of human rights violations in Nicaragua. The organization “laments that, one year after the crisis began, Nicaragua still remains under the imposition of a police state […]. State repression persists and there is a strategy aimed at silencing dissident voices. In addition, the serious violations of human rights documented by the Commission remain in impunity.”



12 noon, Managua Time: Police Deployment Continues; People on the Move

Heavy police deployment continues in Managua, prior to #SomosAbril march. This video, shared by journalist Wilmer Benavides of El Nuevo Diario, shows a contingent of the special police forces on the move. Video was shot in the vicinity of the UCA.

However, Nicaraguans are starting to move towards the meeting point. Benavides also shared this video, showing Flor Ramírez, on the move. Ramírez is well known among protesters for wearing traditional attire, the huipil.

Violeta Granera, a member of the political council of UNAB, shared this image, taken inside one of the maquilas, the factories that supply many of the garments you can buy cheaply at Walmart and other retailers in the United States. Maquila workers are usually women.

As events evolve in Managua, US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, just announced a new set of sanctions against the Ortega-Murillo inner circle. Laureano Ortega Murillo, son of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo is on the list, as well as the bank Bancorp.

The sanctions against Laureano Ortega Murillo and Bancorp have been confirmed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury via press press release. Both, Laureano Ortega Murillo and Bancorp are considered to be involved in “corruption and money laundering for the personal gain of the Ortega regime.” Ortega Murillo was specifically sanctioned for his role as advisor to the Nicaraguan government agency ProNicaragua, which oversees investments in the country.



10 AM – Managua Time: Police Deployment Begins.


It is Holy Wednesday in Managua.

Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco (UNAB) remains firm in its intention to march on Managua at 2 pm, local time. UNAB has issued 12 recommendations for would-be marchers.

  1. Come in groups of 15 or more.
  2. Set a meeting point
  3. Walk together to the meeting point
  4. Be on time
  5. Do not bring vuvuzelas.
  6. Do not bring any kind of gun powder (firecrackers, etc).
  7. Do not provoke the police
  8. Find the nearest medical brigade
  9. Bring a cellphone with sufficient charge.
  10. Have an exist plan
  11. Erase all important information off your cellphone
  12. Do not bring any children.

Other online accounts are also warning about the likelihood of staged provocations during the march. This post, allegedly shared by the managing editor of Canal 4 news, JM Fonseca, states that “Sandinista media will be accompanying the police […]. We will demonstrate where acts of violence originate, so that the world knows that there is no such thing as a peaceful march.”

Indeed, UNAB’s recommendations are not unwarranted. The police issued a resolution forbidding them from marching. “The people who [are organizing the march] were involved in serious alterations to public order, which took place over the past few weekends”, reads the resolution, signed by Commissioner Olivio Hernández, who oversees the Public Security Division of the police.

Yet, as I wrote yesterday, no one has been charged for any serious alterations of public order. Unfortunately, such minor details no longer matter in the hell dimension that Ortega and Murillo preside over.

This morning, police are already deployed along the projected route for the march. Independent media and private citizens have shared the following images and videos, showing the police operation in motion.

A police contingent is getting set up at the Centroamerica Rotunda, the meeting point for the march. These officers are special operations/riot police.

The police is also in place at Carretera Masaya, near the Teresiano School and the Jean Paul Genie Rotunda, where marchers would turn towards Metrocentro

Speaking of Metrocentro, a group of regular police (not riot officers) is already there.

As the police was deploying, the Ortega-Murillo administration issued their official Easter message, saluting “Nicaraguan families.” The statement, heavy in religious imagery and bible quotations, offers “reassurance” to all families that “we are advancing, working together to consolidate the peace that God wants for Nicaragua. […] Peace is the Way, and we go along, we go along, recuperating, and in the Name of Almighty Jesus, we commit ourselves more and more to the Light that each of us hold in our Hearts, trying to be better each day, and to do everything better.”

This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.



  1. Carmen C Pelham

    Awesome! Thank you for such timely reporting!!

    1. dr.minuscula (Post author)

      And I fixed the title!

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