Two groups, one supporting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the other backing rebels there, demonstrated yesterday near that country's embassy, north of Dupont Circle.
Although the two groups, each numbering about 150 persons, exchanged some taunts in English and Spanish, according to witnesses, police said there were no arrests and no violence.
The demonstrations took place on opposite corners of New Hampshire Avenue and Q Street NW. Under District law this was as close as they could come to the Nicaraguan Embassy at 1627 New Hampshire Ave.
The Rev. William Callahan, a Jesuit priest who led the pro-government demonstrators, and five members of his group later walked to the embassy and met with Ambassador Carlos Tunnermann to express "solidarity."
Callahan said his group's demonstration was organized chiefly by the Quixote Center, a Catholic social action group based in Mount Rainier.
Carlos Perez, of Miami, a spokesman for the anti-Sandinista demonstrators, said most of them were part of a private delegation from eight Central and South American countries that has been in Washington lobbying on behalf of Nicaraguan insurgents.
A Cuban refugee who owns a banana import business, Perez said the anti-Sandinista demonstration was sponsored by Concerned Citizens for Democracy, a Miami-based group that he heads.