Ortega-Murillo Government Reiterates its “Commitment” to Civil and Political Liberties through Massive Police Deployment prior to March honoring Eddy Montes

The ink on the government’s “Action Plan” evaporated from the paper it was printed on Sunday morning, when the Ortega-Murillo police deployed on Carretera Masaya, in response to the March for Freedom: Eddy Montes Presente! 

Unidad Nacional Azul y Blanco called for the march, after the resounding success of the general consumer and business strike of May 23rd.

The government’s Action Plan, published one day before the strike, included a guarantee to respect the right to public assembly, mobilization, and manifestation, in accordance to existing law governing the matter. An addendum to the Plan, issued on Friday, demanded “persons involved in the failed coup” to commit to “non repetition and absolute respect for the Constitution and Laws.

The government has repeatedly interpreted the phrase “in accordance to existing laws governing the matter” in a way that elevates the Police Law,  — Law 872 — above the Constitution, by implicitly classifying protest marches as “special events” requiring a permit, rather than expressions of constitutionally-protected speech, which do not. Based on this interpretation, the police forbade UNAB from marching.

In addition, the police’s edict indicates that they received a letter from “unidentified individuals, whose signatures were illegible”, and that such a letter was not a “proper request as it did not comply with the requisites established in the Constitution and Law 872.”

In response, the Alianza Cívica issued a statement describing the police’s refusal as a “grave violation of fundamental human rights” and as “further evidence of the government’s unwillingness to comply with the agreement guaranteeing citizen rights.

Police Militarizes Managua

True to form, the police has surrounded the area of Carretera Masaya, blocking citizens from reaching the start point of the march. Images and video of the police deployment show riot police, uniformed cops, and traffic control officers as they take positions or are en route.

One eye-witness to the deployment had this to say.

Citizens also reported police harassment against Albarto Novoa, former minister of defense, and Avil Ramírez, former vice-minister for the interior.

This user-generated map indicates police presence along carretera Masaya.

IACHR and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights “urge” the Ortega-Murillo Administration to Respect Citizen Rights.


International entities responded to the Ortega-Murillo government’s actions with statements, urging the the administration to “respect” citizen rights. These declarations are pro forma.

The Ortega-Murillo government usually ignores these international please, as neither the IACHR or the High Commission can take actions that the government considers as serious enough to merit a behavior change.

UNAB urges Nicaraguans to Stay Safe and Picket in Place

In response to today’s police deployment, UNAB has encouraged people to picket in place, as police is blocking access to the meeting point. Ivania Alvarez, of UNAB’s political council, encouraged citizens to find safe places to protest, “because [Managua] is too militarized.”

Images and video of citizen pickets have begun appearing on social media.

Citizens came together to form this picket at the Church of St. Augustin, in Managua.

Local journalists now report that St. Augustin is surrounded by the police.

Citizens also protested at the Cathedral of Managua

Obrera de la Tecla reports that excarcerated prisoners are also protesting at the Cathedral.

La Prensa reported one wounded at Cathedral, after police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

This group brought out their Nicaraguan flag and set up at El Guanacaste, in Managua.

Residents of the María Auxiliadora neighborhood in Managua left blue and white balloons on the street.

The Iglesia Divina Misericordia, which was the epicenter of a brutal siege in July of 2018, is a gathering place for protesters today.

At approximately 11:30 am, local time, journalist Lidia López reported police presence at Divina Misericordia.

People are protesting outside of Managua as well. This video is from Estelí.

Nindirī’s picket was inside a church.

UNAB and Eye Witnesses Report “Incidents” of Abuse Against Protesters.

At around noon, local time, the UNAB Twitter account began reporting incidents of abuse against protesters. UNAB’s reports are based on local media sources, like La Prensa and Radio Corporación, and anonymous eye-witness accounts.

So far, UNAB has documented the following:

  1. An unidentified man was kidnapped, robbed, and then abandoned at St. Agustin.
  2. An unidentified male was struck in the head with a police rubber bullet. The incident occurred at Cathedral and was reported by La Prensa.
  3. An unidentified woman was kidnapped outside of her home in Altamira (source: Radio Corporación).
  4. Three unidentified males were kidnapped at around 10:14 am. They were reportedly loaded onto a police van, which drove off towards Police Station #5 (source, anonymous).
  5. An unidentified male was abducted at Cathedral. He was wearing a green ball cap (source, La Prensa).

Eye-witnesses also documented provocations against picketers. This incident occurred at Cathedral. Journalist Abixael Mogollón, of Artículo 66, says that the man in the pink shirt tried to provoke protesters into a fight. Protesters instead taunted him from a distance, but did not engage otherwise.

At around 1:30 pm, local time, Team Adnic reported another abduction. The man was identified as Bayron Alemán. “He was captured by police”.