Student death toll rises in Nicaragua after latest police clashes

Ongoing violence in the country’s capital forces students to flee the city’s largest university campus

July 20, 2018
Managua, Nicaragua
Source: Istock
Managua, Nicaragua

At least 10 people have been killed in a day of protests in Managua, Nicaragua, after pro-government forces attacked the capital’s largest university campus.

The National Autonomous University of Nicaragua has become central to ongoing conflict in the capital over recent weeks, acting as a bolthole for students and members of the public caught in clashes between police and student-led protest groups.

A recent siege on 15 July lasted several hours, according to reports by CNN, forcing students at the university to seek refuge inside a small nearby church.

Sources from Nicaragua’s Catholic Church said that the church was later targeted with gunfire, which killed at least one 20-year-old student inside and injured many others seriously.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent outbreaks that began in April after the Nicaraguan government announced plans to make cuts to the social welfare system.

In a televised announcement on the same day, Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, scrapped the controversial reforms. Tens of thousands of protesters remain, however, having set up roadblocks and barricades in and around the city.

Demonstrators have pledged not to back down until the resignation of Mr Ortega, who has been in power during three stages over the past 40 years. His current presidency has lasted for almost a decade.

Human rights groups say that the total killed in the past three months of protests has reached more than 300.

rachael.pells@timeshighereducation.com

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