Police in Nicaragua March for Non-Violence

May 28, 2004

PRESIDENT Enrique Bolaños joinedmore than 5,000 police officers fromaround the country Monday in a marchthat occurred simultaneously in severalcities as a call for calm and non-violence.The march came one week aftermajor clashes between police and publicuniversity students left some 30 peopleinjured – severally critically – and oneofficer dead (TT, May 21).In the last month, seven Nicaraguanpolice officers have been killed in theline of duty, including four officers murderedearlier this month in the policestation in the Atlantic town of Bluefields(TT, May 7).Police Commissioner Edwin Corderocalled on Nicaraguans to work together tocreate a new culture of peace. He stressedthat police officers are not the enemies ofthe protesting students and do not want tocontinue the fighting in the streets.Telémaco Talavera, president of theNational University Council, lamented thedeath of the officer last week, and saidthat both the students and the police arethe “victims” of a government that doesn’twant to comply with the law.The students are protesting to get thegovernment to comply with aConstitutional requirement to fund publiceducation with at least 6% of the annualbudget.At press time, the demonstrations –somewhat more peaceful than last week’s– continued in Managua as the government,student leaders and university representativesappeared no closer to resolvingthe problem.

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