A heightened security presence was deployed on major thoroughfares in Managua on the morning (local time) of Wednesday, September 26, ahead of anti-government and pro-government demonstrations scheduled in the capital. Though no associated clashes have been reported between demonstrators and security forces as of Wednesday afternoon, localized altercations remain possible in the area in the coming hours. Traffic disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
The current unrest began with small student protests in Managua in mid-April before rapidly expanding. Regular protests have repeatedly led to deadly clashes, looting, and other violence throughout the country. Casualty figures vary by source, with more than 320 people believed to have been killed during protests. Many others have been reported missing (many likely being unlawfully detained by police), some 200 have been injured, and tens of thousands have fled the country.
Activists have accused 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; hundreds of doctors who treated protest victims have reportedly been fired or arrested. 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 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 nationals to postpone nonessential travel to the country until further notice.
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