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1000s in Nicaragua demand ouster of president despite cancellation of controversial reforms

Thousands of Nicaraguans rally against the government in Managua, Nicaragua, April 23, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Protesters in Nicaragua have taken to the streets in the capital, demanding the resignation of President Daniel Ortega despite the government’s cancellation of reforms that triggered protests in the first place.

Thousands of protesters took part in new rallies in several locations in the capital, Managua, on Monday, chanting “President, get out!” The protesters also demanded that those jailed in recent days be released.

Police forces monitored the rallies from afar to avoid a confrontation with protesters.

Together, the rallies were reportedly the largest held over the past six days in protest at government plans to overhaul the Central American country’s pension system.

Protests on previous days turned into riots, and looting occurred, prompting police to take action.

On Sunday, in an effort to restore law and order, President Daniel Ortega said he had canceled the pension overhaul initiative.

La Prensa, a paper that has been a harsh critic of Ortega, claimed that revoking the reforms after what it called a crackdown was ineffective and the government had “lost control of the streets.” It claimed that the leftist leader lacked “the political capacity or moral authority to continue governing.”

Meanwhile, Bassett Guido, a Red Cross spokeswoman, told Reuters by telephone on Monday that the relief organization had registered nine deaths since the protests began on Wednesday, and attended to 433 injured people.

The Nicaraguan Center of Human Rights (CENIDH) said on Monday that at least 25 people had died. Marlin Sierra, the director of the CENIDH, said 120 people had been arrested.

None of those figures were officially confirmed by government authorities, however.

On Monday, the US State department authorized the departure of some of the American diplomatic personnel from Nicaragua and curbed consular services.

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