In Nicaragua, TV channels blocked, journalists injured while covering pension protests

In Nicaragua, TV channels blocked, journalists injured while covering pension protests

In Nicaragua, TV channels blocked, journalists injured while covering pension protests

In talks with business leaders, Ortega said the Nicaraguan Institute for Social Security (INSS) had made a decision to ax the reform that would have increased employee contributions and reduced benefits in a bid to tamp down on a climbing deficit.

Ortega, a former left-wing rebel who fought to overthrow the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979, defended the INSS reforms on Saturday. "That is why they are put at risk", Ortega said.

This is his fourth term as president, and the protests are widely seen as his biggest challenge yet.

He was rebuffed, with the business association saying there could be no dialogue unless Ortega's government "immediately ceases police repression".

Students from Polytechnic University in Managua have barricaded their campus.

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According to Latino, since then, the focus of #SOSNicaragua has shifted away from the social security reforms to demand an end to violence.

The Red Cross said at least seven people had died and hundreds had been injured in the demonstrations, while a local human rights organisation said it had registered 25 deaths. It is not clear who shot Gahona or why he was a target.

Footage shot by Mr Gahona showed riot police advancing up a street. Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa quoted another journalist as saying only police and groups fighting the protesters were armed there. He said protests will continue until both the government and COSEP agree to conditions for dialogue that will first end the violence before broaching other issues on social movements' agendas. At least two protest marches were planned in Managua on Sunday. "Here we will give our all until the government understands that it will not continue to do whatever it pleases", Lombardo Ruiz Picado, a leader of the student protesters, told The Associated Press by phone from inside the school.

Silvio Baez, auxiliary bishop of Managua said that the "riot police fired at a crowd of about 2,000 young people protesting in the atrium of the parish of Santiago, in Jinotepe, a city located 32 kilometers from Managua". Ortega ordered the deployment of the Army in key cities of the country, including the capital, where the military guarded public buildings, after official structures were burned down in various parts of Nicaragua Friday.

The Government approved on April 16 the reform of the INSS ( Social Security Institute) after several negotiation tables during 2017, with the objective of distributing responsibilities between companies and workers, and thus avoid the privatization of the service. "Rectifying decisions is a sign of humanity, listening is the path of reason, seeking peace at all cost is wisdom", the conference said in a statement.

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