Anti- and pro-government marches are planned in Managua on the afternoon of Saturday, August 18 (local time), some four months after anti-government unrest broke out on April 18. Anti-government protesters are expected to march from Rotonda Jean Paul Genie to Rotonda Santo Domingo, denouncing government claims that "normalcy" has largely returned to the country following months of protests and deadly clashes between pro-government forces and anti-government protesters; a government-sanctioned "countermarch" is expected to take place nearby, in downtown Managua. Further details regarding the planned marches are still emerging.
A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be anticipated near the march routes. Clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators, as well as between anti-government protesters and security forces, cannot be ruled out.
The current unrest, which began with small student protests in Managua, rapidly expanded. Regular protests have repeatedly led to deadly clashes, looting, and other violence. Human rights groups estimate that at least 317 people have been killed in relation to the protests since April, with thousands more wounded. Around 23,000 people have fled the country. Activists accuse the government and pro-government militias of committing serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, using weapons of war against protesters, arbitrary detentions, torture, excessive use of force, raiding homes without a warrant, and attacking the press.
The World Medical Association (WMA) has also warned that the country's health system has collapsed amid the crisis, with hospitals reportedly turning away injured protesters and doctors pressured by the government to refuse care. The ongoing violence has also prevented health workers from carrying out mosquito-eradication efforts, increasing the risk of large-scale outbreaks of diseases such as dengue fever and malaria.
Individuals in Nicaragua, particularly in Managua, are advised to closely monitor the situation, strictly avoid all protests due to the risk of violence and arrest, and adhere to any advice issued by their home governments. Some countries, including the US, the UK, and France continue to advise their citizens to postpone nonessential travel to the country until further notice.
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