Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega scraps reform that sparked deadly protests

24 April, 2018, 03:29 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Journalist among over 2 dozen killed in Nicaragua unrest

After days of deadly protests, Nicaragua's president has made a decision to scrap major changes to the country's social security system.

Seconds later a gunshot rang out and Gahona slumped lifeless to the curb.

"The struggle continues. Not a step backward", yelled another student outside the city's Polytechnic University.

But the government was stung by the protests, which one human rights group said had taken at least 25 lives. Someone presses a piece of cloth to try to staunch the bleeding.

The protests began on Wednesday over plans to increase worker contributions to social security and lower pensions, and some stores in Managua were looted over the weekend, witnesses said.

Another Bluefields reporter, Ileana Lacayo, said he died en route to the hospital.

Ortega responded with a crackdown that saw the army deployed, independent media muzzled, journalists assaulted and pro-government demonstrators mobilized to counter the protests.

The central American country of Nicaragua saw deaths of 20 people after protesters demonstrating over pension reforms clashed with the lawkeepers, a local human rights body informed on Sunday, April 22, AFP reported.

Ortega had said Saturday that he was willing to negotiate on the social security overhaul, but said the talks would be only with business leaders. He seemed to try to justify the tough response against protesters by the government and allied groups, accusing demonstrators, a lot of them university students, of being manipulated by unspecified "minority" political interests and of being infiltrated by gangsters. Pope [Francis] has said this repeatedly: "ideologies are harmful, because they have a partial view of reality".

Those remarks appeared to fan the flames, as soon afterward thousands of people spilled back into the streets in seven cities.

The protests, which have included pensioners and students, weren't limited to Managua and were reported in other places outside the capital.

A former Marxist guerrilla and Cold War antagonist of the US, Ortega has presided over a period of stable growth with a blend of socialist policies and capitalism.

On Saturday, Baez also said that because of his critical view when it comes to political issues, he'd gone to the cathedral with Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes and the clergy from the diocese.

One of demonstrators in thousands of number at the central rotunda, Mauri Hernandez said in in a statement that, "We are in the streets asking for Ortega and his wife to go".

The UN office also expressed concern over the fact that news outlets were being closed for covering the protests, and called for the protection of both the protesters and journalists.


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