MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Police in Nicaragua detained more than 100 people Saturday after opponents of President Daniel Ortega tried to hold a demonstration to pressure his government to release hundreds of protesters held in custody since 2018.
Police later said they would release the 107 protesters arrested Saturday in the coming hours at the request of the Vatican's ambassador.
Nicaragua's government banned opposition protests in September and police broke up Saturday's attempt at a demonstration in Managua, hitting several protesters as they forced them into patrol cars.
The U.S. Embassy in Managua expressed concern via Twitter about reports of police violence and called on the Nicaraguan authorities to "cease the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters."
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Ortega government via Twitter to give a full tally of those wounded and detained in the standoff, during which police carrying assault rifles hauled away protesters.
More than 300 people have died in protests since April 2018, while more than 700 are believed to be in government custody and over 52,000 have fled the country amid civil strife and repression.
On Friday, Nicaragua's government said it released 50 opposition prisoners and placed them under a form of house arrest. The release was an apparent bow to a demand by the opposition Civic Alliance for freeing inmates as a condition for resuming political talks which had been suspended.