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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Nicaragua's Lethal "Protests"

The "controlling leadership" of Nicaragua finds itself confronted by angry mobs and reacts with, no surprise, deadly force. As reported by Reuters Eleven killed in Nicaragua protests, including attack on Mother's Day march
Eleven people were killed on Wednesday in one of the worst days of violence since
protests against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega began more than a month ago, a rights group said on Thursday.

The bloodshed was condemned by the Central American country's Episcopal conference of Catholic bishops, who called it "organized and systematic aggression" and suspended talks with the government scheduled for Thursday.

Witnesses said pro-government armed groups opened fire on the marchers during a demonstration on Wednesday, Nicaragua's Mother's Day. The march was held to remember the children who were among the more than 80 killed since the start of protests more than a month ago.
Nicaragua as noted here has a population of about 6 million.

According to the BBC, Nicaragua 'using mobs to quash protests':
Amnesty International has accused the Nicaraguan government of colluding with paramilitary groups to suppress weeks of student-led demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega.

It said the groups used semi-automatic weapons and co-ordinated their attacks with the security forces.


Around 80 people have died so far in the protests.


They began in April, triggered by welfare reforms but turned into a rejection of the Ortega government.


The Amnesty International (AI) report said the armed groups were often made up of pro-government students and motorcyclists, sometimes identifiable by clothing linking them to the authorities.

"These groups appear to be acting with the acquiescence of the state, as is demonstrated firstly by the fact that most of the attacks were committed by private individuals in the presence of or in co-ordination with the security forces," the report said.

"Secondly, by the fact that the police did not pursue the perpetrators after the crimes were committed, but rather allowed them to flee the scene and disperse."
"Welfare reforms" were proposed cuts to social benefits and increases in taxes - which the Ortega said on 22 April have been withdrawn - as set out here:
The welfare reform package proposed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that set off days of deadly protests has been canceled.

In a televised national address, Ortega said the board of Nicaragua's social security system had voted to revoke the measures that were approved last week.

The sweeping pension overhaul plan that increases contributions for workers and employer, but lowers overall benefits.

In earlier remarks Saturday, Ortega seemed to further enrage Nicaraguans by saying the protesters were being politically manipulated; and pointed to the reforms as only being a proposal, and that he was open to negotiations with the business community.

The business community however, which is widely seen as an ally to the government, released a statement saying it would not sit down until freedom is speech is restored and police violence stops.

The BBC reports that independent TV stations have been taken off the air after broadcasting the protests live.
It seems there is lot more to this set of protests than "proposed welfare reforms."

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