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Home / World / More than 25 dead in Nicaragua following civil unrest due to social security reform

More than 25 dead in Nicaragua following civil unrest due to social security reform



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MANAGUA, Nicaragua – In a grainy, nocturnal video, journalist Angel Gahona in jeans and blue shirt holds a cell phone and tells as he approaches the facade of the town hall in Bluefields, Nicaragua, reports live from Facebook Protests that shook the Central American nation for four days.

Seconds later, a shot sounds and Gahona sinks lifeless to the curb. Voices call his name and someone presses a piece of cloth against his head to try to quench the bloodstream. Another Bluefield reporter, Ileana Lacayo, confirmed that he died before he reached the hospital

Apart from Gahona, at least 25 other people have been killed since Wednesday due to riots over social security reforms planned by the government of President Daniel Ortega were. Dozens more were injured or arrested

Ortega said on Saturday his first public appearance since the start of the demonstrations that his government was ready to hold discussions about the dispute. In a nationwide televised speech, he said he was open to negotiations, so "there is no terror left for Nicaraguan families."

A protester holds a Nicaraguna flag next to a burning barricade during a demonstration in Managua, Nicaragua, April 21, 2018. Jorge Cabrera / Reuters

But he said the dialogue would only deal with business leaders and not to take place with other parts of society. He also seemed to be trying to justify what the government and the allied groups were stubbornly answering, and accusing protesters, most of them university students, of being manipulated by unspecified "minority" political interests and infiltrates of gangsters [19659004] " What happens in our country has no name, the children do not even know the party that manipulates them, … gang members are brought into childrens' protests and they criminalize the protests, so they're being asked. " At risk, "said Ortega.

These remarks seemed to fan the flames when, soon after, tens of thousands of people in seven cities, including the capital, Managua, flooded the streets after the tensions had calmed down on Friday night.

We are on the streets to ask Ortega and his wife to go, that's already gone beyond the social security issue: here are dead, wounded and he does not even apologize for his killings or the brutal suppression of people ple ", said Mauri Hernandez, one of thousands of demonstrators in a central rotunda.

On Friday evening, Vice President, First Lady and government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said nine people were killed in the clashes, even though the Cenidh human rights group saw at least 25 deaths nationwide on Saturday. Minutes later came news of the murder of Gahona, who worked for the news program Meridiano. In a separate video he had filmed himself, he showed damage to an ATM when a riot police came up a dark street.

The source of the shot was not featured in any of the videos, but Lacayo was quoted by La Prensa, claiming that the police were the only ones on the scene to carry weapons.

A prominent chamber of commerce made a statement outlining their talks with Ortega on the end of the repression, the release of detained demonstrators and the respect for freedom of expression as held by the authorities. From the air, a private news channel, the reported on the protests.

"We can not enter into a dialogue if these minimal conditions are not met," it said.

Journalist Angel Gahona shot dead during a live broadcast from the city of Bluefields in Nicaragua Facebook / via Reuters

Nicaragua's Nicaragua's Nicaraguan Polytechnic University witnessed further clashes Protesters

"We are stuck, they will not exploit us, we will do everything we can until the government understands that it will not go on doing what it wants," said Lombardo Ruiz Picado, a student protests leader Associated Press by phone from within the school.

In the morning, army troops were transferred to Esteli, a city north of Managua, which was a major focal point of the demonstrations to help police fend off demonstrators. The state-affiliated media showed images of armed soldiers patrolling the city center, saying they were protecting strategic concerns after fires in several public buildings.

The Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference in Nicaragua condemned the repression of demonstrators and called on the government to listen to them and drop social security reforms. "A one-sided decision always brings with it social instability, correcting decisions is a sign of humanity, listening is the way of reason, seeking peace at all costs is wisdom," the conference said in a statement.

Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for The Department of State, said: "The United States Government regrets the loss of lives and injuries in Nicaragua during protests by its citizens, condemning the violence and excessive use of force by police and others against civilians exercise their constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly. "

" The United States calls for a broad dialogue involving all sectors of society to resolve the current conflict, restore respect for human rights, and create a better, more democratic future to reach for all Nicaraguans. "said Nauert. "We also call on the Nicaraguan government to operate journalists freely and restore all television broadcasting to the air, and we call on the government to allow an independent investigation and to prosecute those responsible for the deaths."

By adopting, increasing income and payroll taxes and changing pensions to try to support Nicaragua's beleagured social security system.


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