Week-long anti-government unrest kills 34 in Nicaragua

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MANAGUA, April 26, 2018 (BSS/Xinhua) – A week of harsh, violent protests against the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and disputed social security reform has claimed to date 34 lives, according to media reports.

The country has witnessed large-scale demonstrations since April 18, as Ortega intended to implement pension reforms that sought to increase the contributions of employers and employees while cutting overall benefits.

Although Ortega withdrew the reform amid rising opposition on Monday, the deadly unrest continued.

The disturbance has exposed public outrage and discontent of the 72-year- old leader, as well as his wife Rosario Murillo, who is the vice president.

By early Wednesday, the rallies appeared to moderate after Ortega decided to make compromises, including holding talks with business magnates, releasing some arrested protesters and removing restrictions on independent media.

The protests are the worst since Ortega took office in 2007. He is now in his fourth term as president.

The U.S. State Department issued on Wednesday a travel alert for the U.S. government workers in Nicaragua.

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