Behind the barricades of Nicaragua's anti-government protests

2 July 2018

by Javier Bauluz

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Managua, Nicaragua - More than 212 have been killed in more than two months of unrest in Nicaragua, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH). 

The Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANDPH), another rights group has put the death toll at 285 with 156 people missing. 

What began as a movement against now-scrapped pension reforms in April has since grown into a larger call for President Daniel Ortega to resign.

Rights groups have accused security forces and groups loyal to the government of using "lethal force" to crack down on the protests. There have been also reports of paramilitary forces burning down shops and disappearing protesters - events the government denies taking part in and blames on "common criminals". 

Students have taken over the campus of several universities throughout the country, as they continue to protest what they call the government's oppressive measures.

Protesters say they are denied medical treatment at government-run hospitals. Volunteer doctors and nurses have set up makeshift clinics on the university campuses currently controlled by student demonstrators, as well as in Catholic churches and other buildings. 

On Saturday, at least two were killed and nearly a dozen others wounded as protesters held a "Flowers March" to honour the children killed over the past two months. 

Last month, at least six people, including two babies, died after an arson attack on their home. According to witnesses and neighbours, the owner of the home had refused to allow paramilitary forces to use the roof. The government denied any involvement and blamed criminals. 

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