Thousands of Ortega supporters march in Nicaragua
During the march on Saturday, which had been called by the government to demand justice for the victims of the crisis over the past three months, protesters expressed their backing for what they are calling a "revolutionary process headed by Comandante Daniel Ortega."
Thousands of Sandinistas took to the streets in Nicaragua on Saturday to support President Daniel Ortega and express their repudiation of the "coupmongers," as the president calls those citizens who have been protesting against his government since April 18, a crisis that has resulted in hundreds of deaths.
On foot, on motorscooters and in vehicles, thousands of government sympathizers, including public employees and National Police officers, marched from the outskirts of the state-run National Autonomous University of Nicaragua to the Hugo Chavez Rotunda, a trek of some five kilometers (3.1 miles).
During the march, which had been called by the government to demand justice for the victims of the crisis over the past three months, the protesters expressed their backing for what they are calling a "revolutionary process headed by Comandante Daniel Ortega."
"I'm here to support the comandante, the only president who has known how to move the country forward and eliminate corruption," Carlos Daniel Gamez, one of the marchers, told EFE.
"The murdering coupmongers want to do away with Nicaragua, but we're not going to let that happen," he added.
He also demanded justice for the victims of the crisis, whose deaths were caused by the opposition "to remove the comandante from power."
During the march, the government supporters carried red and black flags of the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and also of Nicaragua, along with signs reading "We want peace" and other pro-government slogans.
Although the government has blamed the opposition protesters for the deaths, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says that the Nicaraguan government is the "only party responsible" for the violence because it has used the security forces to "repress, kill, cause injuries and (make) arbitrary arrests," according to the organization's executive secretary, Paulo Abrao.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees has also blamed the Ortega government for serious human rights violations during the current crisis.
Nicaragua has been going through its bloodiest socio-political crisis since the 1980s - when Ortega also served as president - and over the past three months between 295 and 448 people have died, depending on whose figures one uses.