Nicaragua’s bishops demanded an end to police and paramilitary attacks on unarmed protesters, who have continued to call for the Central American country’s authoritarian president to step aside.
The bishops issued an urgent statement on 31st May, the morning after an especially brutal crackdown on protesters, which claimed at least 13 lives, according to media reports.
“The bishops of Nicaragua have experienced with deep pain, the violent events perpetrated last night by armed groups related to the government against the civil population. We energetically condemn all these violent acts,” the Nicaraguan bishops’ conference said in the statement.
“(We) condemn all of these acts of repression on the part of groups close to the government, and we want to leave it clear the national dialogue talks cannot continue while the Nicaraguan people continue being denied their right to protest,” the prelates said.
At least 5,000 protesters – including women and children – sought refuge on the campus of the Jesuit-run University of Central America on 30th May, according to the rector, Jesuit Fr Jose Alberto Idiaquez.
The university denounced “this new criminal attack” and called on authorities to “immediately cease the repression, which uses shock forces to kill with impunity.”
Picture: Demonstrators in Managua, Nicaragua, stand behind a barricade during clashes with police on 30th May. Nicaragua’s bishops issued an urgent statement on 31st May calling for an end to police and paramilitary attacks on unarmed protestors. (CNS photo/Oswaldo Rivas, Reuters).