Opposition activists hold hunger strikes in Nicaraguan churches

Catholic News Agency | 11/19/2019 | Staff
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Managua, Nicaragua, Nov 20, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- Pro-government forces in Nicaragua have ended a siege of the Managua cathedral as mothers holding a hunger strike there were evacuated, though a similar hunger strike at a parish church in Masaya is continuing.

The hunger strikers in both churches – Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Managua and San Miguel in Masaya – have been calling for the release of their relatives, whom they believe to be political prisoners.

Protests - Nicaragua - April - Deaths

Anti-government protests in Nicaragua began in April 2018. They have resulted in more than 320 deaths.

Seven mothers entered Managua's Immaculate Conception Cathedral Nov. 18, and they were soon followed by the mob of government supporters. The mothers removed themselves to another part of the cathedral.

Msgr - Carlos - Avilés - Vicar - General

Msgr. Carlos Avilés, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Managua, stated that “there are a number of unjustly detained political prisoners in the country. Their mothers desperately tried to enter the cathedral to pray … then the government with the police helping them, let in a mob of government supporters backed by the police to violate the cathedral.”

The archdiocese said that “violent groups related to the government entered and took control of the Managua Metropolitan Cathedral. When reprimanded by Fr. Rodolfo López and Sister Arelys Guzmán, these people responded with violence, beating the priest and sister who are okay but who had to leave the church to protect themselves.”

Archdiocese - Forces - Padlocks - Bell - Tower

The archdiocese also said that the pro-government forces “broke the padlocks of the bell tower and other padlocks, thus desecrating our Metropolitan Cathedral” during the night.

The mothers took shelter in the cathedral overnight, and were then evacuated Nov. 19 in a Red Cross ambulance, as part of a deal negotiated by Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua.

Forces - Blockade

The pro-government forces lifted their blockade of the cathedral shortly thereafter.

The archdiocese condemned “the acts of...
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