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    Categories: Regional/International News

Police End Church Siege as Nicaragua Violence Continues

(BBC)- Police in Nicaragua have ended the siege of a church where opposition supporters had sought refuge after being attacked by riot police and pro-government militias.

Doctors have been allowed to treat the injured inside the church in the city of Masaya. Two people have died. Some 30 people who were inside the church were released after the local Catholic Church intervened.

More than 100 people have been killed in Nicaragua in six weeks of violence

Monsignor Silvio José Báez, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, praised the local priest in Masaya, Edwing Roman, and a human rights lawyer and campaigner, Álvaro Leiva, for their efforts in negotiating with the authorities.

He urged President Daniel Ortega to end the crackdown on protests against his government.

Monsignor Báez earlier took to social media to warn people. “The priests in Masaya have told me that the San Miguel parish is surrounded by anti-riot police,” he wrote on Twitter.

“There are injured and detained people inside. No more repression in Masaya.”

Masaya, some 20km (12 miles) south of Managua, was one of several cities where opposition activists clashed with police on Saturday.

The unrest in Nicaragua was triggered by cuts to pensions and social security. Hours after the measure was signed into law by Mr Ortega in April, pensioners and students took to the streets.

Human rights groups say the police have acted with brutality and many people were killed in the following days. Most of the victims were university students.

Mr Ortega revoked the legislation but by then he himself had become the focus of the protests.

Mr Ortega, the former Sandinista rebel leader, is in his third consecutive term in power.

He was re-elected in 2016, after the constitution was changed enabling him to stand again.

He has accused right-wing sectors of infiltrating “delinquents” and gang members in the protest movement to destabilise his government.

Talks between the government and the opposition, which were mediated by Nicaragua’s Catholic Church, collapsed last week.

Several bishops taking part in the talks received death threats, which the Church said came from the government and official media.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visited Nicaragua last month and said it had seen grave violations of human rights during the protests.

It said state security forces and armed third parties had used excessive force.

The government announced on Wednesday it had allowed members of the IACHR and the OAS

Kenneth Williams :