The Police encircled the demonstration held by a group of students on the campus of the private Central American University (UCA) in Managua on Friday. The protest had been restricted to the campus, given the students’ fear of being arrested if they demonstrated on the public roadway. The youth demanded a transparent dialogue and justice for the political prisoners as well as for those murdered during the demonstrations.
“For three days the business powers have been pacting with the political powers in order to run ragged over the poor. I distrust that dialogue, because they’re not including all the different sectors: the rural residents aren’t there, the mothers of April aren’t there. We’re all being messed over by this dictator,” declared one of the youth who had joined the protest to radio station Radio Corporacion.
Given the fear of arrest, the students opted to cover their faces with t-shirts, baseball caps and glasses, asserting “we’re worth do more free than in prison”. The university students criss-crossed the UCA campus, singing and shouting slogans.
This was the first demonstration since October, when the dictatorship outlawed protests on public property, forcing those who wish to demonstrate to request a permit first from the Ortega Police – permits that up until the moment have been consistently denied.
“We’re here inside the University grounds because they’ll kill us if we go out on the streets. We’ve been harassed multiple times. They come to look for us in our houses in the wee hours of the morning,” stated one female university student, who admitted that she was afraid, but even so she feels an obligation to demonstrate for those who died during the civic protest and for those who are still in prison.
Police surround the university
Hours before the demonstration inside the UCA campus began, the walls on the outside of this university that had been stenciled with phrases against the dictator, were painted over by a group who arrived in the early morning and who presumably are Ortega supporters.
In the same way, minutes after the demonstration began, the police dispatched a number of patrol wagons full of officers and riot squad members. These were stationed just outside the university to intimidate the students. The same thing had happened on Wednesday in the Managua Cathedral, when a dozen students entered the church with Nicaraguan flags and the priests and clergy from the Cristo Rey order had to get them out so that they wouldn’t be arrested.
The protest in the university ended at 11:50 in the morning, with the presence of the riot squads just outside. At that time, the students announced over a loudspeaker that they were dissolving the demonstration and taking precautionary measures to avoid being arrested.
Reporters at the scene confirmed that there were rubber bullets shot from outside the campus. Among a group of international reporters outside the campus, Tifani Roberts, a reporter from Univision, received a rebounded bullet in one of their legs. The reporter minimized the incident, stating that offering declarations in regards to it was to inflate the repressors’ importance. However, the aggression was reported anyway in the local and foreign media.