MANAGUA – Thousands of supporters of the governing Sandinista party gathered on Thursday in the central square of Plaza de la Fe in Managua to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza.
Waving black and red Sandinista flags as well as Nicaraguan national flags, the crowd gathered not only to celebrate the revolution but also to support President Daniel Ortega, who is facing the worst crisis since he became president 11 years ago, due to violent clashes between police and protesters that have left more than 351 people dead in three months.
Ortega’s administration has denied being responsible for the violence, arguing that the government is facing an attempted coup.
“We are here to support Ortega and Rosario Murillo (the first lady and vice president),” a Sandinista partisan told journalists.
The atmosphere in the square was cheerful, as the crowd chanted songs about the revolution and Ortega.
For the first time since 2007, the state television did not focus on Murillo during its transmission of the celebration, and Ortega received just a few minutes of coverage.
Demonstrations against the Ortega administration began on April 18 after a controversial pension system reform was announced, which was later rescinded.
The protests expanded in the following weeks to demand the president’s resignation, who is accused by opponents of corruption and ordering police repression.
Ortega was re-elected in 2016 with more than 70 percent of the vote.