Strong police presence ahead of march in Nicaragua

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Hundreds of police are lining a thoroughfare and manning overpasses in Nicaragua's capital hours before a scheduled opposition march to mark a year since protesters took to the streets to oppose the government of President Daniel Ortega.

A popular mall in the area is also full of police, who are making their presence felt ahead of Wednesday's demonstration. The opposition had sought permission to hold the march, but police denied it.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and foreign governments have urged Ortega to allow people to peacefully demonstrate. Public protests have been effectively banned.

Protests against cuts to social security benefits began April 18, 2018 and were violently repressed by police and Ortega supporters.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says at least 325 people have been killed.