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Nicaraguan opposition marches under strong police surveillance

July 15, 2015

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Demonstrators from Nicaraguan opposition parties and civic groups marched Wednesday, amid a massive police deployment, to the local election court to demand clean elections in 2016. No incidents occurred.

The demonstration could not assemble outside the Supreme Election Council due to metal fences set up around the building and the presence of anti-riot officers and police who outnumbered the 300 demonstrators.

Delegations from departments (provinces) which were to join the protest in Managua were stopped at highway police checkpoints and prevented from traveling, according to local journalists and reports from citizens over social networks.

During a march held last week, legislators taking part in the demonstration were captured and beaten by anti-riot officers who fired tear gas to disperse some 200 people. Journalists covering the incidents were also attacked.

The right-leaning Liberal Independent Party has been holding protests every Wednesday in recent months. But this week they were joined by the left-leaning Sandinista Renovation Movement, formed by dissidents of the official Sandinista party, and other civic groups that are critical of the government.

The opposition demands that the election law be reformed and magistrates be changed in order to guarantee transparency during the next general elections, scheduled for November 2016. President Daniel Ortega is expected to run for a third consecutive term. The legislature changed Nicaragua’s constitution last year, scrapping term limits.

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