How pension changes ignited fiery protests in Nicaragua

Managua Nicaragua

Anti-government protesters gather below the one metal tree sculpture remaining after pulling down a second one, a monument that is emblematic of the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, at the Jean Paul Jennie round-about in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, April 21, 2018.

In a statement, it warned that "political rallies and demonstrations are occurring daily, often with little notice or predictability".

Ortega's decree seemed to unleash pent-up frustrations that have always been brewing in Nicaragua, where the government has acted with a heavy hand in pushing the Ortega family's agenda while quelling protests, often violently and sometimes in tandem with government supporters.

The police crackdown on protesters and curbs on some media have fueled broader criticism of Ortega.

Demonstrators protesting government repression wave Nicaraguan flags in Managua, Nicaragua, Monday, April 23, 2018.

While Mr. Ortega said Sunday that he was withdrawing the proposed changes, the unrest has continued.

The spokesperson recalled that, although the social security reform that triggered the conflict has been repealed, more demonstrations are expected in the coming days.

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La Prensa, a conservative paper that has been a harsh critic of both Ortega and the previous regime he fought to overthrow, said he had "lost control of the streets".

Guido said the Red Cross had registered nine deaths since the protests began Wednesday, and attended to 433 injured people.

Days of protests in Nicaragua have left at least 27 people dead, according to a human rights organisation.

A State Department official said the embassy in Managua would shutter many of its operations until further notice but that it would continue to provide services to US citizens and visa applicants.

Family members of US diplomats who also work at the embassy are being ordered out of the country until security improves.

Opposition groups, who called the 2016 election a farce have been bristling in Nicaragua since, expressing particular frustration that Mr. Ortega chose his own wife, Rosario Murillo, as the country's vice president.

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