10 killed in Nicaragua protests against pension reform plan

Students block a street during clashes with riot police, within a protest against the government's reforms in the Institute of Social Security (INSS) in Managua on April 20, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2018
0

10 killed in Nicaragua protests against pension reform plan

  • Students from Polytechnic University have been holed up on their campus since Thursday evading police.
  • Murillo compared the protesters to "vampires demanding blood to feed their political agenda."
MANAGUA: Violent protests against a proposed change to Nicaragua's pension system have left at least 10 people dead over two days, the government said Friday.
In the biggest protests in President Daniel Ortega's 11 years in office in this poor Central American country, people are angry over the plan because workers and employers would have to chip in more toward the retirement system.
The government is willing to hold a dialogue and Ortega will issue a formal call on Saturday, Vice President Rosario Murillo said, adding: "At least 10 compatriots have died."
Demonstrations rocked the capital Managua and nearby cities for a third day.
The new law, besides increasing employer and employee contributions, would cut the overall pension amount by five percent.
"We are against these reforms, which means we're against this government taking from the pockets of Nicaraguans," said Juan Bautista.
He said riot police brutally attacked demonstrators like him because "the dictator does not like people to protest."
A woman nearby shouted: "The people are tired of this repression!"
Students from Polytechnic University have been holed up on their campus since Thursday evading police. Other students took refuge in nearby buildings or residences.
In Las Colinas, south of the capital, demonstrators raised small barricades and with their hands raised asked the riot police not to target them.
Four independent television outlets were taken off the air after they broadcast the demonstrations on Thursday, and two were still blocked on Friday.
Murillo compared the protesters to "vampires demanding blood to feed their political agenda."
The opposition said more than 20 people were wounded while the writers group Pen Nicaragua said that at least 11 journalists were attacked while covering the demonstrations.
"We call on the Nicaraguan authorities to act to prevent further attacks on demonstrators and on the media," said Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights."
She urged the government to let people "exercise their right to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly and association," and urged protesters to demonstrate "peacefully."
She also said demonstrators were attacked by government supporters in the city of Masaya.
Miguel Mora, director of the private television channel 100% Noticias -- which the government blocked -- accused Ortega of applying the same censorship he imposed in the 1980s during the Sandinista Revolution.
When Ortega returned to power in 2007 he promised to "never censor a media outlet -- and today he is doing just that," Mora told Channel 14.


2 shot at Oklahoma restaurant; suspect dead

Updated 46 min 29 sec ago
0

2 shot at Oklahoma restaurant; suspect dead

  • Police say the shooting appeared to be a random act.
  • A handgun-carrying civilian in the parking lot averted a possible slaughter by shooting the gunman dead, police said

OKLAHOMA CITY: A man armed with a pistol walked into an Oklahoma City restaurant at the dinner hour Thursday and opened fire, wounding two customers, before being shot dead by a handgun-carrying civilian in the parking lot, police said.
The shooting happened about 6:30 p.m. at Louie’s On The Lake, a restaurant on Lake Hefner in the Oklahoma capital.
A woman and a female juvenile were undergoing surgery for gunshot wounds but apparently “are going to survive,” said Capt. Bo Matthews, a police spokesman. A man suffered a broken arm while trying to escape the shooting.
A family member told KOCO-TV that her daughter and 12-year-old granddaughter were shot while entering the restaurant for the girl’s birthday dinner. Authorities have not identified the injured patrons.
The suspect’s identity also was not immediately known, Matthews said. The shooting appeared to be a random act.
“We have no reason to believe this is a terrorist type of incident,” Matthews said. The motive was unclear otherwise, and the onsite investigation was expected to extend into the early morning hours as law enforcement personnel interview about 100 eyewitnesses, he said.