(posted April 9, 5:00 p.m.)- The turnout at today’s protest march in the mountains of Matagalpa, was remarkably smaller than opposition lawmakers hoped for, but Independent Liberal Party (PLI) congressional chief Alberto Lacayo says it succeeded in demonstrating people’s discontent with the government shutdown in the municipality of Rancho Grande.
The march, which drew some 500 people—thousands fewer than expected—was hampered by the ruling party pressuring local transportation unions into not providing busses to mobilize the protesters from rural areas, according to Lacayo. Still, the congressman said, the presence of riot police surrounding the mayor’s office was a clear sign that the Sandinista mayor is “afraid of the people,” he said.
Today’s march was against Sandinista mayor María Isabel González, who has essentially locked out the local government since January by refusing to convene a session of city council, where the Sandinistas have a minority of votes.
Today’s march did nothing to change the situation, Lacayo admits.
“Today Rancho Grande has no government, and tomorrow they will still have no government. We don’t know how much longer this situation will continue,” the congressman told The Nicaragua Dispatch this afternoon, as he returned to Managua after the march. “Peaceful protest has become very complicated in this country.”