Nicaragua protest death toll jumps to 34: Rights group

AFP , Wednesday 25 Apr 2018

Nicaragua Protests
A demonstrator holds up a sign reading "They were students, not delinquents", referring to students killed in protests against a reform to pension plans, during a protest against police violence and the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Managua, Nicaragua April 23, 2018. (SOURCE: REUTERS)

The death toll from a week of brutally repressed anti-government protests in Nicaragua has risen to at least 34, a leading rights group in the country said Wednesday.

The count, by the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), was a hike from its previous figure of 27.

The group said it had found more bodies in Managua's state morgue of people previously reported missing, and had also added people who had died of wounds sustained in the protests.

President Daniel Ortega's government put out its own toll Friday, counting 10 deaths. It has not released any updated figure since.

The protests were triggered by pension reforms that Ortega ended up withdrawing as condemnation of harsh police tactics against the demonstrators -- including firing weapons -- mounted.

Other grievances over the president's rule for the past 11 years then surfaced, notably resentment at the aloof and authoritarian style of Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, who is also his vice president.

By early Wednesday, it appeared the protests were subsiding after Ortega made a series of concessions, including freeing arrested protesters, lifting curbs on independent media and calling for dialogue.

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