Under the “shadows of darkness” at 4 a.m. this morning, a gang of several hundred masked thugs wearing Sandinista t-shirts arrived at the offices of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS) on motorcycles and aboard government trucks to violently oust dozens of senior citizens and youth activists who have been protesting against the government since last Tuesday, according to Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH).
Allegedly working in tandem with the National Police, the state-sponsored security thugs reportedly attacked the elderly protesters with a vengeance, injuring dozens and scattering the group of youth supporters who sought refuge in neighboring homes that opened their doors to hide people from the police and paramilitary group, according to CENIDH’s legal director Gonzalo Carrión.
The human rights leader says there are “an uncountable number—dozens” of people injured and a handful of people who are still missing and unaccounted for.
A senior citizen sits on a stool and refuses to leave after this morning’s attack. In the background, a group of Sandinista supporters arrive on the heels of the masked thugs to hold the line and blare Sandinista campaign music about reconciliation and peace (photo from Twitter)
“This was a criminal operation of state terrorism,” Carrión told The Nicaragua Dispatch. “The terrorist gang was wearing masks and armed with weapons and told the group: ‘You have 10 seconds to run. Run! Run! Then they started to beat people.”
Other witnesses say the Sandinista paramilitary group ordered everyone on the ground, and then robbed them of their cellphones, cameras and other personal effects. The gang then proceeded to beat the group, vandalize cars and destroy private property, according to witness accounts.
“At 4:35 a.m. I tried to film with my camera, but the assailants surrounded me and threw me out. I was robbed” Tweeted Fabiola Tercero.
“What’s happening here is horrible and egregious. Innocent people are injured by the JS (Sandinista Youth), who arrived on municipal trucks,” Tweeted another witness.
“The attack this morning is a clear indication that we are really screwed, for those who weren’t clear about that before,” Tweeted Mayo Cuadra.
Carrión, a former leader of the Sandinista Youth in the 1980s, says this morning’s repression by his former organization was “as bad as you can imagine.”
“This was as bad as the worst of the repression during the Somoza dictatorship,” he said.
As dawn turned to day, the Sandinista raiders were replaced by a second group of Orteguistas who started chanting government slogans about peace and love as their occupied the area around INSS building. The group blared Ortega’s old campaign songs with lyrics about reconciliation, peace and love. Several senior citizen protesters remain several meters from the Sandinista groups, sitting on the ground and refusing to abandon the area.
Others have retreated to the Cathedral in Managua, which has become a de facto area for the opposition to regroup and denounce the government repression.
On Twitter, hundreds of Nicaragua youth are calling people to a generalized protest under the hashtag #occupainss
The police and government have remained silent about this morning’s attack.