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24 April 2018, 03:27 | Vera Richards
Death toll rises in fifth day of Nicaragua protests against govt
Seconds later a gunshot rings out and Gahona slumps lifeless to the kerb.
The situation in the country began deteriorating on Wednesday, but became even worse when, on Saturday morning, the Central American nation woke up to find the army deployed in several cities.
Ortega's decree seemed to unleash pent-up frustrations that have always been brewing in Nicaragua, where the government has acted with a heavy hand in pushing the Ortega family's agenda while quelling protests, often violently and sometimes in tandem with government supporters.
Pope Francis called for an end to violence in Nicaragua after several days of protests against proposed social security legislation led to the deaths of more than two dozen people.
Voices cry his name and someone presses a piece of cloth to his head to try to staunch the stream of blood.
A thorough examination pursued to support the social security system of the country - Nicaragua along with the combined, increased taxes as well as reduced benefits.
Another Bluefields reporter, Ileana Lacayo, said he died en route to the hospital.
On Sunday, Ortega said the government would withdraw the pension changes and called for negotiations on a new solution to the problem. The demonstrations appeared to expand to include broader anti-government grievances.
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 also seemed to try to justify the tough response by the government and allied groups, accusing demonstrators, majority university students, of being manipulated by unspecified "minority" political interests and of being infiltrated by gangsters.
Addressing the youth gathered, he said that the Catholic Church is supporting their cause because it's "fair", and urged them not to be manipulated by political ideologies because their cause is one of "social justice". A further 43 people were reported to have "disappeared" over the weekend.
The streets of Managua wore a devastated look following the clashes between the police and the protesters, AFP said further.
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.
Besides Gahona at least 25 others have been killed since Wednesday in unrest over social security reforms planned by President Daniel Ortega's government, according to a human rights group. "Here there have been dead, wounded, and he does not even apologize for his killings or the savage repression against the people", said Mauri Hernandez, one of thousands of demonstrators at a central rotunda.
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