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New Protests, Blockades In Nicaragua After Talks Suspended

MANAGUA – New demonstrations and more road blockades mainly in the north and central parts of Nicaragua erupted on Thursday, one day after the Episcopal Conference suspended the national dialogue, due to lack of advancement in the agenda.

The Upoli university, one of the scenarios of the violent protests registered in April, remains under the control of university students

The Episcopal Conference has taken the role of mediator between students, civil society, private business sector, campesinos (peasants) and the government.

The demonstrations are against President Daniel Ortega and his government, protestors calling for his resignation and that of his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo and demanding justice for the at least 76 people killed during the last five weeks of protests.

For the past five weeks, Nicaragua has been mired in a crisis, In addition to the deaths, 868 people have been injured, according to Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) report last Monday.

The Upoli has been a stronghold during social protests against the government since April 19.

Groups of campesinos and other citizens blocked major roads in northern areas of Matagalpa and Estelí, and central areas of Nicaragua.

Leon was the scene of night clashes between demonstrators and groups backing the government, that left at least one person dead and dozens injured, on Wednesday night, the same day the talks were suspended.

The aftermath of the Wednesday night violence in Leon and Chinandega

At the dialogue table, government representatives could not agree to demands for early and democratic elections. The opposition want an end to the Ortega whose current mandate, his third consecutive since 2006, runs to November 2021.

Government representatives called the proposal a “coup d’etat.”

The crisis that has gripped every corner of the country, from the big cities to the small towns, began when the government, in the middle of April, introduced reforms to the Social Security (pensions), increasing rates and cutting benefits.

Despite a quick repeal by Ortega days after the April 19 start of a peaceful march that quickly escalated and grew, both for and against the government, the violence continued, the demands for Ortega to step down stronger.

At the first day of the National Dialogue, the only day personally assisted by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, university student representative, Lesther Aleman, called out Ortega ins a public setting never seen before.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.