Before being broken up by club-wielding riot police, a strike by long-distance operators halted most international telephone service for more than five hours.

The job action Wednesday by Sandinista-aligned telephone union workers in Managua was in support of about 400 employees in three provinces just south of the capital who have stopped work to demand 40 percent salary increases.A photographer said he was hit in the face when riot police forced about 30 striking workers from telephone company offices at about 8 p.m., but no serious injuries were reported.

Replacement workers were then brought in to restore long-distance service.