Rioters have torched a university in Nicaragua on the 39th anniversary of the ‘Repliegue Tactico’ (Tactical Retreat) against the dictator Anastasio Somoza, just hours after President Daniel Ortega renewed his call for an end to the violence that has plagued the country since April.
Nicaragua: Ortega Renews Call For Peace In Anniversary March
Vandals forced their way into the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) on Friday, setting light to classrooms and burning educational equipment.
The protesters also torched a medical center and set light to a university pavilion, according to local media.
UNAN officials later released a statement condemning the attack and threatening legal action against the people responsible.
"This evening, July 13, several instalations and equipment have been burned and destroyed in the university compound ‘Ruben Dario,’" the statement reads.
"We hold the vandal and criminal groups that, for more than two months, have taken our compound by force responsible for these crimes.
"It should be noted that with these terrorist acts, they are destroying heritage that belongs to the entire Nicaraguan population.
"Therefore, our university will establish the appropriate legal channels to bring those responsible of these regrettable acts to justice."
Radio Nicaragua 905 reported that the suspects are believed to be the same people responsible for an earlier attack on the anniversary march, which injured nine people.
Hours before, Ortega told thousands of supporters joining the march from Managua to Masaya: "Today we are commemorating the 39th anniversary of the retreat. This retreat, in the name of the heroes and martyrs, today we dedicate it to the fight for peace in Nicaragua.
"When we retook the government in 2007, we achieved peace. Now, that peace must be consolidated. Long live peace!"
As many as 351 people are believed to have died since the protests began on April 18 in response to social reforms intended to bridge the national deficit. Those protests were quickly co-opted by U.S.-sponsored right-wing extremists seeking regime change.