At least two people were wounded by gunfire during an anti-government demonstration in Managua on Sunday, September 2. Sunday's protest march had been planned to commence at the Rotonda Cristo Rey (Rotonda Santo Domingo) in the morning (local time) and conclude at the Rotonda Jean Paul Genie. A heavy police deployment was reported along the planned march route, with participants complaining of harassment, prompting them to modify their trajectory. However, the violence reportedly erupted around 12:00 when suspected pro-government paramilitary members in trucks displaying flags associated with the Sandinista Front opened fire on the marching demonstrators as they drove by on Carretera Masaya; some demonstrators sought refuge at the nearby Camino Oriente shopping center. Additional clashes were reported between demonstrators and police following the incident; a police vehicle was reportedly burned and riot police were deployed. Further protests are possible in the coming days.
Sunday's demonstration follows a decision by the Nicaraguan government late last week to expel a UN human rights delegation, after the UNHCR released a critical report on Wednesday, August 29. That report documents human rights abuses committed in Nicaragua since April 18, including extrajudicial killings, disproportionate use of force, disappearances, arbitrary detention, and instances of torture and sexual violence against prisoners.
The current unrest began with small student protests in Managua in mid-April and rapidly expanded. Regular protests have since led to deadly clashes, looting, and other violence. Human rights groups estimate that over 300 people have been killed in relation to the protests since April, with thousands more wounded. Around 23,000 people have fled the country. Activists accuse the government and pro-government militias of committing serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, using weapons of war against protesters, arbitrary detentions, torture, excessive use of force, raiding homes without a warrant, and attacking the press.
Individuals in Nicaragua, particularly in Managua, are advised to closely monitor the situation, strictly avoid all protests due to the risk of violence and arrest, and adhere to any advice issued by their home governments. Some countries, including the US, the UK, and France continue to advise their citizens to postpone nonessential travel to the country until further notice.
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