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200 Riot to Protest Sandinista Draft

February 10, 1988|From Times Wire Services

MASAYA, Nicaragua — Forced recruiting by Nicaragua's Sandinista army sparked a day of rioting, rock throwing and car burning by at least 200 residents of Masaya, witnesses and radio reports said.

Police in this city, 15 miles southeast of Managua, confirmed that a sweep to round up draft dodgers Monday sparked "disturbances" but declined to give details. Special Interior Ministry troops were deployed to maintain order.

Interior Minister Tomas Borge said 10 people were arrested. He said about 200 demonstrators threw rocks at the local police headquarters, fired guns into the air and torched two cars.

However, witnesses put the number of protesters at 400, and opposition spokesmen said more than 20 were arrested. The reports indicated that the riot was the most violent outburst against Sandinista recruiting tactics during the leftist government's 6-year-old war against U.S.-backed Contras.

On Tuesday, about 300 pro-Sandinista youths in Masaya marched in support of compulsory military service.

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