Protesters carry names of victims during Wednesday march in Managua.
By Frances Robles
At least 15 people were killed during protests this week in Nicaragua, raising the death toll of the nation’s six-week political uprising to more than 100, human rights activists said Thursday.
The latest killings took place at a march on Wednesday attended by hundreds of thousands of people on Nicaragua’s Mother’s Day. It was held to honor the mothers of students killed at previous rallies.
Body of shooting victim is carried away.
A leading Roman Catholic bishop called it a “massacre,” and the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, which had been mediating a national dialogue between the opposition and the government, abruptly ended the peace talks.
“How can you dialogue with your assassins?” said Gonzalo Carrión, a lawyer at the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, who said the police had opened fire on protesters. “This was the biggest rally yet. It was a homage to mothers who lost their sons at rallies in April and May, and they wound up adding 15 more mothers to that list.”
The Nicaraguan Army said at least six police officers had been shot and wounded at the demonstration.
The protest on Wednesday capped six weeks of what has been described as a national rebellion against the government of President Daniel Ortega. The government has denied responsibility for any of the deaths and insists that it is the victim of a vast conspiracy.
The increasing violence underscores what little progress has been made to resolve the conflict since demonstrations began in April. Fake news reports intended to incite the public continue to circulate; government and opposition websites have been hacked; and dozens of roadblocks around the nation have paralyzed traffic.