Mothers of those killed in protests lead Mother’s Day demonstrations in Nicaragua

World Today

Calls are growing louder in Nicaragua for President Daniel Ortega to resign. 

The country has endured weeks of protests after a new law raised pension contributions while cutting benefits. Scores have been killed and hundreds injured. 

On Nicaragua’s Mother’s Day, the demonstrations were led by the mothers of those who have died.

CGTN’s Gerry Haddan reports.

It’s Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, but this year the annual march is more protest than celebration.

Crowds were fed up with the government of President Daniel Ortega, who has been in and out of power for nearly 40 years.

Ortega’s problems came to a head last month when he tried to lower pensions for retirees to avert a financial crisis. People protested, and the government response was brutal. Scores of demonstrators have been killed in clashes with riot police.

The protests have only grown. Students have taken over their universities. Farmers are blocking roads into the capital. And even Nicaragua’s business leaders are supporting the mobilizations.

Many here accuse Ortega’s government of cronyism and corruption. He named his own wife as vice president in a move seen as an attempt to consolidate power. They want Ortega out and new elections.

Amnesty International accuses the government of working with armed mobs. The president blames gangs for the recent violence and has resisted any attempts to remove him from power. He argues he was democratically elected. His supporters are holding their own Mother’s Day march.

The Catholic church is trying to mediate. But so far there have been no meaningful breakthroughs, and the violence continues.

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