Professional-government supporters assault Catholic church in Nicaragua as tensions flare

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MANAGUA/MASAYA, Nicaragua (Information) – Supporters of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega tried to storm a church on Thursday, with a priest saying they hit churchgoers, as pressure ratchets up between Roman Catholics and the federal government within the Central American nation.

A person holds prayer beads as he prays throughout a mass on the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua November 21, 2019. Information/Oswaldo Rivas

Footage posted on social media confirmed protesters urgent in opposition to the barricaded door of the San Juan Bautista parish church within the western metropolis of Masaya. Parishioners had gathered for Mass, to be adopted by a pilgrimage, in help of moms in Masaya’s cathedral who’re on a starvation strike.

The moms are demanding the discharge of their kids, detained by authorities for his or her half in anti-government protests.

Nicaragua’s church buildings have been reworked into political battlegrounds in current weeks as protests proceed to roil a rustic deeply divided over the management of Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla who has waged a brutal crackdown on his opponents.

Each the Group of American States and the United Nations raised alarms this week about human rights in Central America’s largest nation, as protests have intensified.

At San Juan Bautista church, footage posted on social media confirmed parishioners and monks scrambling to carry again a bunch of Ortega supporters, urgent their our bodies in opposition to the door and later stacking up pews to barricade the doorway.

The Ortega supporters in the end compelled their approach in to the church, based on the priest, prompting the priest to plead with the group to let his parishioners go residence safely.

“Fierce hyenas,” Father Harvin Padilla mentioned in a sermon to churchgoers as the federal government supporters tried to push previous the barricades, the footage confirmed.

“We don’t comply with a dictator and a madwoman,” he continued, an obvious reference to Ortega and his spouse, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

The supporters struck altar boys and churchgoers as they tried to enter the church, Padilla mentioned.

The Nicaraguan authorities didn’t instantly reply to a request for its model of occasions.

Demonstrations erupted in April 2018, when Ortega tried to chop welfare advantages, and steadily unfold right into a broader protest motion in opposition to his rule.

The Catholic Church tried to make peace in Nicaragua early on, mediating talks between Ortega and the opposition final 12 months. However in current weeks, outstanding church buildings have been overtaken by the nation’s long-running political disaster.

Earlier this week, the Church accused teams linked to the federal government of beating a priest and violently taking management of the cathedral in capital Managua.

“We condemn these acts of desecration, harassment and intimidation, which aren’t contributing to the peace and stability of the nation,” the Church mentioned in a press release.

Reporting by Oswaldo Rivas in Masaya and Ismael Lopez in Managua; writing by Julia Love; Modifying by Rosalba O’Brien