Crisis Deepens In Nicaragua A Year Into Anti-Ortega Protests

Crisis deepens in Nicaragua a year into anti-Ortega protests

Managua, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Apr, 2019 ) :Nicaragua's opposition has called on its supporters to defy a police ban and protest against the regime of President Daniel Ortega to mark the anniversary of the "civil and peaceful insurrection" that left 325 people dead last year.

Since then, the central American country has descended into crisis in part due to the government's brutal crackdown on protesters, with some 800 people jailed and tens of thousands exiled.

Economic recession and US sanctions have weakened the government, but Ortega is clinging onto power nonetheless.

Protests, initially against pension reform, broke out on April 18, 2018.

But a heavy-handed response by security services left 325 dead, mostly opposition supporters, over the next four months.

The opposition has called on its supporters to take to the streets on Wednesday to mark the occasion, but police have refused to authorize a street demonstration.

"The only thing they have left is a monopoly on force, as well as a bit of nepotism and corruption," Manuel Orozco from the Inter-American Dialogue think-tank told AFP about the government.

Ortega, 73, was caught off guard by the protests, led by various groups including students, demanding that he step down and call early elections.

But the former guerrilla leader, who first came to power in 1979 after contributing to the fall of US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza, has refused to budge.

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