Nicaraguan pro-government mob storms cathedral

Nicaragua has accused the Catholic Church of supporting anti-government protests. — Reuters pic
Nicaragua has accused the Catholic Church of supporting anti-government protests. — Reuters pic

MANAGUA (Nicaragua), Nov 19 — A pro-government mob in Nicaragua broke into a cathedral today and injured two clergy members while attempting to dislodge hunger strikers demanding the release of political prisoners, church authorities said.

The Catholic Church has a powerful role in the country but President Daniel Ortega has accused bishops of supporting deadly anti-government protests that rocked the country last year.

A priest and a nun were attacked when they attempted to block the group from taking control of the cathedral in the capital Managua, according to an archdiocese statement. 

“We condemn these acts of intimidation,” the statement said, adding that both victims were in good health after the attack but had left the building as a security measure. 

No further information on the severity of the attack was provided.

Nine people began a hunger strike in the cathedral on Monday to demand the release of nearly 150 political prisoners.

The group took refuge in another part of the building to continue their fast after the break-in.

The Managua Archdiocese asked Ortega to “take immediate steps to ensure that Catholic churches are respected,” and requested that police “withdraw” from the vicinity of the churches.

More than 325 people were killed and hundreds of government opponents were jailed when street protests were met with a brutal crackdown in Nicaragua last year, according to human rights groups. — AFP

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