The president of Nicaragua's Council of Bishops is backing independent, small-scale miners whose protest against the concession given to a Canadian mining company was broken up by police.
Msgr. Socrates Rene Sandigo says the miners and "are only asking they be paid what is due them."
The Nicaragua government recently gave Canada's B2Gold company the rights to gold fields the miners had long worked.
The miners blocked a highway over the weekend to protest and demand $38 million in compensation.
Police broke up the blockade and arrested almost 50 people. National Police spokesman Fernando Borge said nobody was injured, but said those arrested could face charges.
B2Gold said in a statement that it had tried to talk with the miners, but they refused to end the blockade.