More than 320 people were killed in Nicaragua in the protests against the administration of President Daniel Ortega, which began in April last year.

In recent days, mothers of political prisoners launched two hunger strikes, which resulted with arrests of activists and clashes by government supporters in the cathedral in the capital, Managua.

The Nicaraguan government has previously dismissed the international warnings, describing it as attempts to interfere in its affairs. The police said on 18 November that the protesters were suspected of arms trafficking and planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the country.

The European Union called on the government and law enforcement bodies to “release the detainees and drop the charges, lift the siege of the church and ensure the full respect of the constitutional rights of all Nicaraguans, including freedom of expression, assembly, religion and peaceful protest”.

The UN human rights office said that the detention of the anti-government protesters appears to be based on “trumped-up charges”.

The EU also warned that it will “continue to use all its instruments to support justice and democracy in Nicaragua and to react to the ongoing deterioration of human rights and the rule of law”.