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Ortega’s Attack on Bishops in Diriamba in Photos

Hooded civilians forced their way into the Catholic Church and beat priests, paramedics and journalists who were inside.

Elmer Rivas

10 de julio 2018


After a weekend of bloodshed that left at least 11 people dead, dozens of people injured and disappeared in Carazo, the religious delegation from Managua’s Catholic Church (headed by Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Apostolic Nuncio, Waldemar Stanislaw and Managua’s auxiliary bishop, Silvio Baez) traveled to the San Sebastian Basilica in Diriamba where they were attacked by pro-government mobs and paramilitary groups.

The delegation was accompanied by the Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights Association (ANPHD) and they had gone to rescue a group of paramedics and Franciscan missionaries, who had been surrounded by paramilitary forces at the Catholic Church since Sunday.

Over 200 paramilitary members and people wearing balaclavas had surrounded the Diriamba Basilica, hiding as the Catholic clergy reached the city. After that, civilians and some hooded men waited for the bishops to enter.

The following are a selection of photos that marked this moment.

The caravan headed by the Catholic Church clergy left Managua’s Metropolitan Cathedral. When they reached the San Sebastian Basilica church in Diriamba, pro-government supporters shouted out slogans like: “We want peace! They weren’t students, they were criminals!”. | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

The Priests got off the bus while people crowded around them shouting: “Murderers! You are responsible!” | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes tried to address the mobs who were attacking them, but it was no good, and he and the other priests decided to enter the Church through the back. | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

Amidst great tension and the crowd that prevented them from entering, the priests managed to enter the Church with the human rights organizations and reporters. The crowd of Ortega supporters also forced their way in to continue attacking the religious clergy. Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

There were paramedics and religious men wearing purple robes inside the temple waiting to be released to be released by the bishops. They were evacuated through a side door, while the bishops tried to block the back entrance without much luck. | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

Hooded civilians attacked those who were guarding the door. They entered the Church and beat priests, paramedics and journalists who were inside. Managua’s auxiliary bishop, Monsignor Silvio Baez was one of the wounded. | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

Camera people from Canal 12, 100% Noticias, Canal 23 and TV Program “Esta Semana”, were also beaten and stripped of their filming equipment. | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

“Thank God we have been able to reach Diriamba and get the people who were being held hostage in the Church out of there. We haven’t suffered anything compared to what the majority of Nicaraguans are being victim to,” Monsignor Baez said, who received a cut to his right arm. | Photo: Carlos Herrera | Confidencial

The clergy returned to Managua after noon and they ended the day with a moment of prayer inside the Cathedral. “We have never seen anything like this here in Nicaragua, it’s really very sad. However, we have been proven right, I am happy in spite of my weaknesses, the insults, the persecutions and hardships Christ suffered,” Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said to finish off.

In the afternoon, another pro-Ortega mob stormed the Santiago Parish Church in Jinotepe, damaging the Church’s furniture and burning the medicine stored for treating people injured during the attacks on the protests.

* Information taken from EFE news agency.

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Elmer Rivas

Elmer Rivas

Periodista y productor general de los programas Esta Semana, Esta Noche y Confidencial Radio, dirigidos por Carlos F. Chamorro. Exiliado en Costa Rica desde junio de 2021.