Nicaraguan police target political opponents with tear gas for attempted protest

MANAGUA (AFP) – Riot police in Nicaragua used tear gas against opposition demonstrators and reporters last Saturday, temporarily detaining over a hundred people after they attempted to protest for the release of opponents to President Daniel Ortega’s government.

Ortega has opened a tentative dialogue process with the opposition in recent weeks in an effort to bring an end to a broad movement against his iron-fisted rule that began last year.

But the issue of political prisoners remains a strain on the talks.

Police said that they had arrested 107 people at the would-be demonstration. They were later released.

An AFP journalist at the scene said the police deployed tear gas and bullets against protesters, and seized the equipment of journalists covering the scene.

Earlier, opposition members reported that at least 30 people were arrested for trying to take part in last Saturday’s demonstration, which ultimately did not take place.

Family members said that among the arrested were fromer rebel Monica Baltodano and her sister Sofia Arce.

Two opposition negotiators also were believed to be among those arrested.

More than 700 people were detained during a deadly crackdown on rallies that began last April that began over controversial pension reform but grew into a mass movement against Ortega.

Nicaraguan riot police officers leave with two people arrested while heading to a demonstration called by opposition groups demanding the government to release those arrested for taking part in anti-government protests in Managua last Saturday. – AFP