Failed dialogue leads to fresh protests and more deaths in Nicaragua | News | DW | 27.05.2018
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Failed dialogue leads to fresh protests and more deaths in Nicaragua

Eight people have died in the days after a dialogue between protesters and the government broke down. President Daniel Ortega is increasingly under pressure from demonstrators who are demanding his resignation.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in several Nicaraguan cities on Friday and Saturday, in renewed calls for President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to step down.

Read more: Opinion: Nicaragua keeps it in the family

According to AFP news agency, eight people were killed between Friday and Saturday, raising the death toll to more than 85. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission has estimated that a total of 79 people have died and more than 800 have been wounded between April 18, when the protests began, and May 24.

Read more: Nicaragua under pressure, as violence continues

Blocking highways and chanting "they must go," demonstrators voiced their frustration over corruption, the country's electoral system and the president's control over Congress, the courts, the military and the electoral board.

Protesters also denounce Ortega and Murillo's governing style, which they consider autocratic.

Efforts by the Nicaraguan Catholic Church and civil society organizations to resolve the political conflict between protesters and the government have failed. The collapse of formal talks on Wednesday was the spark that reignited the protests this weekend.

Growing international pressure

The OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, delivered a statement on the Nicaraguan situation on Wednesday, saying that the only solution to the political crisis is to carry out new elections.

"When society is polarized, the decision must be returned urgently to the sovereign: the people," Almagro said.

Read more: UN calls for independent investigation in Nicaragua after more student deaths

The International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) spoke out against the Nicaraguan government's repression and urged it to follow the recommendations submitted by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, in order to resolve the crisis peacefully.

The IFHR specifically condemned the use of police in plainclothes and pro-government groups to attack protesters.

Both NGOs have also asked the Nicaraguan government to authorize a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to expedite, with the help of international organisms, "independent and impartial" investigations into the "grave human rights violations" that may have taken place.

jcg/bw (EFE, AFP)

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