EFEManagua

At least five people were injured here Wednesday when youths attacked participants in a weekly demonstration to demand that Nicaragua's 2016 elections are free and fair, the opposition PLI party said.

Two of those hurt in the disturbances surrounding the 31st Protest Wednesdays mobilization, lawmakers Augusto Valle and Javier Vallejo, were taken to a hospital for treatment, according to the PLI-led National Coalition for Democracy.

"Infiltrators of Protest Wednesdays attacked reporters and PLI legislators, including (party leader) Eduardo Montealegre," the political formation said on Twitter.

Participants in the weekly march for clean elections identified the assailants as members of two youth organizations associated with the ruling Sandinista party.

"There are many people in the protest who were assaulted. They threw rocks at us, stole our megaphones," said Ana Margarita Vigil, leader of the opposition Sandinista Renewal Movement.

EFE saw the attackers shatter car windows, damage cameras, steel cellphones and launch projectiles at the marchers using homemade mortars.

The large number of police guarding the offices of the Supreme Electoral Council witnessed the violence, but did not intervene.

Silvia Gutierrez, a lawmaker with the Sandinista Renewal Movement, said the attackers did not achieve their goal of intimidating the marchers.

"These are attempts to discredit Protest Wednesdays. They do not succeed," she said. "We will continue protesting for free, fair and transparent elections."

Nicaraguans are scheduled to go to the polls in November 2016 to elect a president, vice president and 90 members of congress.

Opposition parties accuse electoral authorities of having altered results to ensure the victory of Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in the 2011 presidential election.