Nicaragua: 'Mothers of April' call national strike
The "Mothers of April" movement condemned the "massacre" that took place during the group's march on Nicaragua's Mother's Day, and called on the business sector to declare a national work stoppage to press for the resignation of Daniel Ortega's government. “They went out to massacre that sea of people who came out to support us in our mourning, in the largest march in the recent history of the country. Therefore, we ask the business people to call a national work stoppage, because although we will suffer from hunger for a few days, it's better than them continuing to kill us," said Rosa Cruz Sanchez, mother of Michael Cruz, a the young man killed during the April protests. At the June 2 press conference, gathered mothers shouted "National strike! "National strike!" Many said they have continued to face harassment since May 30 Mother's Day march. "Unknown people continue to come to stalk our homes, continue to persecute us and harass us, we ask that they leave us alone when they are the cause of so much pain," said Graciela Martínez, sister of Juan Carlos Lopez Martinez, also slain in the April protests. (Nicaragua Confidencial via Havana Times)
The Mother's Day march in Managua, demanding justice for protesters slain in the April repression, itself turned deadly when it was attacked by police and pro-government turbas (mobs), leaving 15 dead and some 80 injured. Among the slain was a youth of 15 years. By some accounts, snipers and "paramilitary" forces also fired on marchers. Sporadic violence has continued since then around the country. "Every day they’re killing more people," said Gonzalo Carrion, a lawyer with the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CINDH). "They are causing a wave of terror." (Confidencial, WaPo, El Pais, Today Nicaragua)
The days following the Mother's Day march saw street clashes and a stand-off in the city of Masaya. Five were killed in street fighting June 2, including one police officer and another youth of 15 years, before protesters took refuge in a church, which was then surrounded by security forces. Doctors were allowed into the church to treat the wounded and some 30 sheltering there were allowed to leave following mediation by Catholic clergy. As a result of the deal, 30 Masaya residents detained at Nicaragua's notorious El Chipote prison were also released. (BBC News, Nuevo Diario, Nuevo Diario, Confidencial)
On May 29, Amnesty International issued a report, Shoot to Kill: Nicaragua's Strategy to Suppress Protest, denouncing a "lethal policy of state repression" by the Ortega government. The pro-government press (El19, VivaNicaragua) routinely call the protesters "delincuentes de la derecha golpista" (criminals of the coup-mongering right).