In Nicaragua, municipal polling booths were virtually deserted on Sunday (5 February) as hundreds of voters refused to cast their votes.
GV: street scene in Matagalpa.
MV PAN EXTERIOR OF: polling station, military jeep drives past.
GV: people outside polling station.
GV: outside station, ZOOM INTO CU boy with gun.
MV: slogans painted on fence.
GV: outside polling station, ZOOM INTO CU soldier
MV: soldiers PULL BACK TO CV polling station.
MV: troops standing on forecourt of petrol station, PULL BACK TO GV OF station.
GV: polling station ZOOM INTO MV soldier.
MV: polling station PULL UP TO GV
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Background: In Nicaragua, municipal polling booths were virtually deserted on Sunday (5 February) as hundreds of voters refused to cast their votes. The boycott formed of a two-week general strike across the country, called to pressure President Anastasio Somoza into resigning. The elections were organised in all towns and cities except the capital.
SYNOPSIS: The town of Matagalpa was a typical example of voter resistance. The streets were quit except for small groups of people who gathered to talk, and army patrols which showed their presence.
Some Matagalpa voters did turn up outside the polling station, but in most cases that was close as they got to casting their votes. There was virtually no traffic on the streets, and apart from armed soldiers and those that came out of curiosity, the majority of the population appeared to have stayed at home for the day, as they had been doing since the start of the now more than two-week old strike.
In addition to the general strike, there has been a series of guerrilla attacks during the past few weeks, with several clashes in the streets between guerrillas and police. The demands have been that President Somoza should end his family's forty-year control of Nicaragua. But the President has made it clear he has no intention of bowing to the strikers' demands, so the situation remains deadlocked.