Nicaraguan transport workers clashed with riot police Tuesday in Las Maderas town, 45 km east of the capital Managua, as the national transport strike entered its ninth day.
Police retaliated with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets after the workers allegedly burned two cars on the northern Pan American highway.
"We as policemen are complying with our duties and the constitutional mandate," said the head of Nicaragua's National Police (PN) in a press conference prior to traveling to Las Maderas to evaluate the situation.
The transport workers demand that the Nicaraguan government, headed by President Daniel Ortega, freeze the price of diesel at 40.50 cordobas (about two U.S. dollars) per gallon, down from the current price of 90 cordobas (about five dollars). However, the government has rejected the proposal.
Many people, including passersby, suffered injuries in the riot police’s operation, local reports said. Fifteen people were arrested.
The intended 30-day national transport strike, called by the National Transport Coordinator (CNT), has been on since May 5. The CNT affiliates include cargo, inter-urban, taxi and urban transportation operators.
Negotiations on Sunday and Monday among the government, CNT and transport workers allied to the Sandinista government have failed, as the parties were unable to reach an accord.
Transportation Minister Fernando Martinez once again proposed a 0.30 US dollar discount per gallon of diesel or gasoline, and an increase in passenger fees, but the strikers found the measures unacceptable.