Nicaragua scraps reform to end rallys

Tuesday, 24 Apr, 2018

Days of protests in Nicaragua over cuts to social security spending have resulted in violence, looting, and at least ten people dead, including a journalist. "That is why they are put at risk", Ortega said.

Nicaraguan opposition leaders and civil society groups also accuse Ortega of manipulating elections to stay in power and of wanting to create a family dynasty by making his wife, Rosario Murillo, his vice president.

The disturbances broke out in response to President Daniel Ortega's effort to shore up the troubled social security system with a combination of reduced benefits and increased taxes.

The State Department also authorized the departure of personnel who so wish in the face of the situation in the Central American country, where government shock forces and riot police are repeatedly attacking the protestors.

Pope Francis has expressed deep worry over deadly violence in Nicaragua fueled by protests and he's pressing for a peaceful solution.

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

Student protesters won support in neighborhoods where residents came out to bang kitchen pots, and from workers and retirees angered by government corruption and the deterioration in their living conditions.

In the morning, army troops were deployed to Esteli, a city north of Managua that has been a main flashpoint of the demonstrations, to help police repel protesters. They appear to have expanded to include broader anti-government grievances. The most important thing, he said, is reaching that new deal by consensus.

He denounced the protesters for acting like criminal gangs.

The unexpected wave of violence in an otherwise relatively tightly controlled country caused global outrage. But he rejected demands to free detained protesters, withdraw the police and lift some censorship. The human rights group said the official government figure had not taken widespread violent clashes since then into account.

Ángel Gahona was reporting on damage at a bank in the Caribbean coast town of Bluefields when a bullet hit him during his Facebook Live newscast.

President Ortega on Saturday agreed to speak with the private sector over the social security reforms but the private sector business union refused to hold talks unless the government stopped the repression.

Ramirez said the deaths and censorship during the protests had ended the possibility of resolving the crisis through talks.

Some protesting students said Ortega cancelling the pension reform was no longer enough.

The pope, the United States government and business leaders all urged Ortega to stop the violence before he appeared on television and said the measures approved last week would be withdrawn.