(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
MANAGUA/GENEVA - Nicaraguan security forces on Tuesday moved to clear barricades in a suburb of Masaya, a stronghold of protests against President Daniel Ortega, with rights groups reporting gunfire as police and armed civilians surrounded the area.
Masaya's chief of police, Ramon Avellan, said he had orders from Ortega to remove roadblocks protesters use to protect themselves in clashes with pro-government groups in the suburb of Monimbo.
"We're going to fulfill that order, at whatever cost," he told reporters. "Masaya is ours."
At least 275 people have been killed in Nicaragua since protests erupted in April over a plan by Ortega's government to trim pension benefits. The government's heavy-handed response sparked a wider protest against Ortega's rule.