MANAGUA: At least five people died on Wednesday in Nicaragua at pro- and anti-government rallies in the latest spasm of violent unrest that has left dozens dead since last month, police and the opposition said.
As the overall death toll reached 92, President Daniel Ortega vowed to remain in power.
“Nicaragua belongs to all of us, and here we are all going to stay,” Ortega said in a speech to thousands of supporters.
More than 20 people were wounded and two opposition news outlets were attacked in Wednesday’s unrest.
In the capital Managua, people wearing hoods fired guns and mortars at families taking part in a pro-government rally, leaving 12 injured including five police, according to deputy National Police director Francisco Díaz.
Two of the 12 – members of the youth branch of the ruling Sandinista party – later died, he added.
The Nicaraguan Human Rights Center said two people died and 12 were injured in clashes in the northern department of Estelí.
A fifth person died when pro-government activists opened fire in Managua on a rally in support of mothers who have lost children in the unrest, the opposition said.
The protests were initially triggered by now-aborted reforms to the near-bankrupt social security system.
But the unrest quickly broadened into a rejection by many Nicaraguans of Ortega and his wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, who are seen as autocratic.
It all poses the largest crisis ever faced by Ortega, a former guerrilla leader who first ruled between 1979 and 1990 before returning as president 11 years ago.
With the new fatalities, 92 people have died and more than 880 have been injured in the unrest that broke out on April 18.