Violent Nicaragua protests claim another 10 lives: Rights group

Published: July 16, 2018 11:03:27 | Updated: July 16, 2018 21:05:47


Police block the entrance of Divine Mercy Roman Catholic Church in Managua on Saturday — Reuters photo

Nicaraguan police and paramilitary groups loyal to President Daniel Ortega killed at least 10 people on Sunday, a human rights association said, as the death toll from violent clashes in the Central American country continues to rise.

The people were killed when government forces attacked the community of Monimbo and nearby city of Masaya, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) southeast of the capital, Managua, said Alvaro Leiva of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights.

“We are talking about more than 10 deaths at this time,” Leiva told a local television station.

The government could not immediately be reached for comment, reports Reuters.

Nearly three months of clashes between pro-Ortega forces and demonstrators calling for his removal have claimed over 300 lives, in the bloodiest protests in Nicaragua since the country’s civil war ended in 1990.

Nicaragua has been convulsed by unrest since April, when Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla leader, proposed reducing pension benefits to ease budgetary pressures.

Though the plan was later dropped, it provoked violent clashes and calls for Ortega to step down.

Student leader Lester Aleman, who is among the protesters spearheading the demand for Ortega to step down, told reporters that he wanted a “halt to the repression.”

A nationwide strike emptied streets on Friday as businesses shut their doors, heeding calls by civil society groups who want Ortega to resign and stage early elections.

 

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