Today was the day of the Catholic Church – and the peasants from mainly the northern part of the country. For years they have protested against the interoceanic canal in some 100 hundred mobilizations across the country. Not so many in Managua – they were usually inhibited by government forces.
Today´s protests, a “pilgrimage for peace”, and organized by the Catholic Church, attracted not only devoted Catholics and the peasants, but also other churches, the elderly, children, school-kids – “normal citizens” – see the pictures below.
The energy by the Cathedral, the destination of the huge manifestation of today, was different from the one of the mass demonstration of Monday 23rd, where the students, dressed in black, were the protagonists, and where some 120 000 persons marched 6,5 exhausting kilometres in the Managuan pre-rain season heat to the heart of the conflicts: the university of UPOLI.
Today’s march was relaxed in comparison, starting at three meeting points a couple of kilometres, at the most, from the Cathedral.
There were also far fewer banners and furious slogans, covered faces, but more prayers, religious symbols, and white t-shirts – the general colour of the opposition.
Everything was peaceful and there were no intents whatsoever from part of the government to interfere – an indicator of weakened muscles and legitimacy.
There might have hundreds of thousands on the streets today all over the country; the Chruch organized mobilizations in Matagalpa, León, Estelí, Rivas, Chinandega y Granada, as well.
Also, Chief of Police, Aminta Granera, resigned today, according to the opposition media La Prensa and Confidencial. If it is true, it is a wise and necessary move: Too much blood has been shed under her command (although, it is said, this is more symbolic, and less operative, as time goes).
But also, a pity it had to go this far. Also Chief of Police during the previous government, that of Bolaños, Granera was extremely popular and produced good results. She was, during her first years, a very legitimate leader – and it was even whispered in the corners that she could be a candidate for leading the government.
Had she not continued during three consecutive, illegitimate periods for the current government, had it not been for all this blood…
A selection of the pictures of today:
Busloads of peasants travelled from mainly the northern parts of the country, from regions like Nueva Guina and Zelaya Central to Managua:
Their message is:
«We are the peasants who protest against the canal. We heard the clamor of the students and have travelled to Managua to defend them, we have done so in our own regions from the very beginning but haven´t been able to get to Managua because of problems on the way. But thanks to you (the protesters), the media, the support, we are here today.
We will continue the fight for whatever time necessary, until the guilty have been put on trial and the government has resigned».
The canal-project which has been shelved, at least for the time being, also implies concessions to side-projects which the peasants fear could still come true with a law that the government pushed through.
They are exhausted after 200-300 kilometers on the roads, and after several days of protests –By the Cathedral they were welcomed by the Managuan protesters who also gave them food and water.
The Managuans, many of them representing religious communities, lucked rather lush in comparison. Nicaragua is a country with extreme economic and social differences and with deep contrasts between the rural and the urban.
A young nun with the flag of the Vatican competing with the Nicaraguan blue-and-white…
…and La Virgen María was obviously also present.
The Nicaraguans are deeply religious, today divided app. 50-50 between Catholicism and different Protestant or Evangelic churches.