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Nicaraguans rally against president across country

1 July 2018 16:06

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Nicaragua to protest against President Daniel Ortega, whom they accuse of being a dictator.

The rallies began on Saturday in the capital, Managua, where armed forces fired on a protesters’ barricade at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN).

At least two demonstrators were killed and 11 others wounded in the country on Saturday, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH).

Protesters were also out in the streets in other cities, including Leon, Masaya, and Granada to call for the president’s resignation.

“I’m here because I want to see my Nicaragua free. It hurts that children like me have died, but we must continue fighting to get this dictator out,” AFP quoted a 15-year-old student as saying.

A man fires a homemade mortar during a rally in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, on June 30, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The rally, called the Flowers March, was held to honor the young people allegedly killed in more than two months of protests across the country that had been triggered by changes to the Central American nation’s social security system since mid-April. At least 220 people have so far been killed.

Authorities are accused of using “lethal force” to crack down on demonstrations.

The 72-year old president, along with his wife Vice President Rosario Murillo, is also accused of establishing nepotism, a dictatorship, and practicing brutal repression.

Ortega has countered by calling the protesters as “vandals” and “terrorists” who are trying to destroy the country’s long-held peace.

The protesters have made projectiles that they routinely fire at security forces during protests.

The president, whose third consecutive term ends in January 2022, has refused a demand by opponents to move up elections from 2021 to March 2019.

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