Nicaragua: Five more opposition figures detained ahead of election

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Police in Nicaragua have detained five more prominent opposition figures, in what critics say is a crackdown on opponents of the country’s president.

Several former allies of long-time President Daniel Ortega, 75, were among those arrested on Sunday.

Police accused them of inciting foreign interference in Nicaragua’s affairs, among other crimes.

Twelve senior opposition figures, including four presidential hopefuls, have been arrested in recent days.

What’s the background?

Opposition to Mr Ortega, who is currently serving his fourth term in office, three of them consecutive, has been growing in the past years.

In 2018, mass anti-government protests swept through the country but were met with a violent police response. Hundreds were killed and thousands were injured in the clashes between the protesters on the one hand, and the security forces and pro-government militia on the other.

After many of those who had lead the demonstrations were arrested, the protests eventually fizzled out later that year.

Mr Ortega rejected calls made at the time for elections to be brought forward and continued to serve his term.

But critics say that with the scheduled date of the presidential poll approaching – they are due to be held in November 2021 – he is now targeting anyone who may stand against him.

Julie Chung, the top US diplomat for Latin America, said the arrests were part of a “campaign of terror” by Mr Ortega.

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