Government officials announced on Friday, April 20, that at least ten people have been killed since anti-government protests started on Wednesday, April 18. At least another 100 people have also been wounded. Violent demonstrations have taken place in the capital city of Managua, as well as León, Granada, Estelí, Matagalpa, Masaya, and Tipitapa. Vice President Rosario Murillo announced that the government is willing to hold a dialogue with the demonstrators.
Anti-government protesters and journalists have reportedly come under attack by members of the pro-government Frente Sandinista/Juventud Sandinista groups, amid a general crackdown by the government of President Daniel Ortega. A number of stores and businesses in the capital have closed amid the violence. The Red Cross announced on April 19 that it would be deployed to protest sites and that all regular operations have been suspended until further notice. The Ministry of Education has suspended classes at public universities until further notice.
The protests initially broke out on April 18 to denounce recently approved reforms to the social security system. Vice President Rosario Murillo, wife of Ortega, has called on government supporters to take to the streets in a show of force; she has also publically disparaged the anti-government protesters. The government forced three television stations off the air during Thursday’s protests, including the country’s only two independent stations (it should be noted that ten channels are owned by the Ortega family and their allies).
Individuals in Nicaragua are advised to keep abreast of the situation and strictly avoid all protests and university campuses due to the risk of violence and arrest.