Truckloads of police and pro-government gunmen rolled into a town in northern Nicaragua Tuesday, clearing an opposition roadblock in clashes that left one person reported dead.
The new violence came as investigators from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights began a probe into months of violence which has killed more than 200 people.
A statement from the commission said it had a mandate of six months and has been tasked with "supporting the investigations of the violent acts that have taken place in the country since April 18, in the framework of the social protests."
The government incursion took place in La Trinidad, 125 kilometers (78 miles) north of the capital Managua. State media said a riot police officer died. Several demonstrators were wounded, human rights activists said.
Local people said police surrounded a church in which priests and parishioners were holed up, and were still there as of Tuesday night.
Police and paramilitary forces also took up positions inside a cultural center, La Trinidad's town hall and surrounded the town hospital, said Merling Solis, a delegate of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights in the area.
Solis told local channel 100% News that "armed groups are encircling the area so that the population has no way out."
The center has reported at least 220 people dead in the unrest that broke out in April.
Another rights group, the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights, on Tuesday put its latest toll in two-and-a-half-months of violence at 309, with more than 1,500 injured.
The protests began as demonstrations against now-scrapped social security reforms, but a heavy-handed police reaction transformed them into demands for justice for those killed, and for the departure of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
At least 220 people dead in the Nicaraguan unrest that broke out in April