Demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega began on April 16, 2018, led by university students in Nicaragua’s capital Managua after the government failed to handle forest fires in one of the most protected biological reserves in the nation. Soon after, the government further antagonized citizens by introducing a plan to raise taxes while cutting pensions and social security. Nicaraguans took to the streets demanding President Daniel Ortega step down in what resulted in the bloodiest protests in Nicaragua since the country’s civil war ended in 1990. On April 22, 2019 President Ortega announced the government would scrap the proposed controversial reforms but calls for his removal continued. Since protests began in April 2018 over 300 people have been killed, forced into exile or taken as prisoners for dissenting. The government of Nicaragua has barred public protests and gone to great lengths to quash dissent.

Protesters again took to the streets in Nicaragua’s capital on September 22, 2019 in a continuation of the previous years protests, but were met with repression. President Ortega remains in power in Nicaragua with the people unable to take to the streets without fear of being taken into custody or killed.

Further violence in Nicaragua broke out at the nation’s most important cathedral in Masaya city, where protestors had been leading hunger strike to demand the release of loved ones taken by pro-government forces as political prisoners. The catholic church has deep roots in Nicaragua and has been involved in communication and negotiations between protestors and the Ortega administration. The OAS has declared the crisis in Nicaragua a critical human rights situation.

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