Top Nicaragua civic group calls anti-ortega strike

Iran Daily - - International -

Nicaragua’s top civic al­liance called for a nationwide 24-hour strike to protest “ex­treme con­di­tions” un­der Pres­i­dent Daniel Ortega, who has yet to de­cide on re­viv­ing talks over the cri­sis that has left at least 148 dead.

The day-long strike is set to be­gin Thurs­day at noon (1800 GMT) “in sol­i­dar­ity with the vic­tims” of the two months of un­rest, which has seen bru­tal clashes be­tween anti-gov­ern­ment ac­tivists and se­cu­rity forces, AFP wrote.

“This is a na­tional and peace­ful civil strike that cov­ers the en­tire coun­try and all eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, ex­cept those re­lated to the preser­va­tion of life and the cov­er­age of ba­sic ser­vices for the pop­u­la­tion,” an­nounced the Na­tional Al­liance for Jus­tice and Democ­racy, a key player in the now stalled cri­sis talks.

The coali­tion also de­manded an “im­me­di­ate” de­ci­sion from Ortega on the prospect of re­viv­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions me­di­ated by Nicaragua’s in­flu­en­tial Catholic bish­ops.

The coun­try has not heard from its left­ist leader since last week, when he met with top clergy mem­bers, who pre­sented him with a plan to ex­pe­dite the poll and in­sti­tute elec­toral and con­sti­tu­tional re­forms – key ac­tivist de­mands.

“Di­a­logue is the way to re­view the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem of Nicaragua from its root to achieve an au­then­tic democ­racy and jus­tice,” the civic al­liance said.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter the coun­try un­der­went a sharp es­ca­la­tion in vi­o­lence in re­cent days, as po­lice and pro­gov­ern­ment paramil­i­taries at­tacked ac­tivists wield­ing sling­shots and home­made mor­tars.

The din of ri­fle blasts and mor­tar ex­plo­sions echoed overnight and into the morn­ing through­out the streets of Managua, even af­ter gov­ern­ment se­cu­rity forces force­fully cleared the bar­ri­cades.

The protests that be­gan April 18 over con­tro­ver­sial pen­sion re­forms have ex­ploded into a mass ef­fort to pres­sure the pres­i­dent’s exit.

At least 148 peo­ple have died in clashes with se­cu­rity forces, ac­cord­ing to the Nicaraguan Cen­ter for Hu­man Rights (CENIDH), which also said well over 1,000 had been in­jured.

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