Nicaraguans join strike on political prisoners
May 24 2019 12:42 AM
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A police officer stands guard in Managua during a national strike yesterday, called by the opposition Civic Alliance.

DPA /Bogota

Many Managua residents yesterday joined a general strike called by Nicaragua’s opposition to pressure President Daniel Ortega’s government to release all prisoners regarded as political, with shops closed in parts of the capital and streets deserted.
Several bus stops were empty, though public transport was functioning, daily La Prensa reported.
Petrol stations remained open.
A number of private schools and some private universities were closed, but public universities did not join the strike.
Neither did banks, which the authorities had threatened with sanctions if they did.
Heavy police presence was reported in the streets of Managua.
The strike call was also heeded elsewhere in the country.
“May the few followers of a moribund regime see which side they are on and how important it is to join the right side of history,” tweeted the opposition umbrella group Civic Alliance, which had called the strike.
The government has released more than 300 people since February, but the opposition has threatened to definitively break off all negotiations unless all of those it regards as political prisoners are freed.
It is not certain how many such people are still in jail.
The opposition says about 800 people have been arrested since anti-government protests sparked a wave of more demonstrations and heavy repression in April 2018.
The strike took place about one week after opposition supporter Eddy Montes was shot dead in prison.
The opposition blames the government for the killing.
The government on Wednesday promised to release prisoners by June 18, as had previously been agreed.
But it rejected the opposition demand for early elections.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Nicaragua’s crisis of more than a year has claimed at least 325 lives.
The opposition puts the death toll at more than 550, while the government says 199 people have been killed.



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