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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Nicaraguan government cracks down on doctors, thousands hit the streets

MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Thousands marched Saturday against President Daniel Ortega’s government and his crackdown against doctors who treated injured protestors that Ortega calls terrorists.

The demonstrators chanted “No more abuses,” “Long live doctors,” and “Doctors are not Terrorists,” in solidarity with doctors the government has punished for being opposition members or caring for them.

About 100 doctors nationwide were fired from public hospitals for tending to people hurt in the anti-Ortega unrest.

According to rights groups, 317 people have been killed and 2,000 wounded in more than three months of unrest against the Ortega administration.

The United States, the Organization of American States, and the Vatican all support demands from protesters that Ortega — in power since 2007 — resign, or at least agree to hold early elections.

But Ortega claims the country would plunge into “anarchy” if he left power before the end of his mandate in early 2022.

He called a counter-rally outside the Central American University on Saturday demanding “justice for victims of terrorism.”

Marchers who rallied in support of the doctors wore masks and scarves over fears, they said, of being targeted for taking part.

Meanwhile, a new economic analysis released on Saturday by consultants COPADES warned that Nicaragua’s economy will be seriously undercut by the crisis to the tune of more than $1 billion in losses, and shed about 200,000 jobs.

AFP Photo / Marvin Recinos

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