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More Than 20 Dead in Nicaragua Protests: Rights Group

At least 10 killed as unrest intensifies in Nicaragua

Two protesters and a policeman were killed in Nicaragua's capital Managua after demonstrations over pension reform turned violent in the most significant protests in President Daniel Ortega's 11 years in office, officials said Friday.

"We are dealing with more than 20 dead, but we are verifying because there is a lot of misinformation, the situation is really serious and beyond our possibilities to confirm", the center's director Vilma Nunez told AFP.

A group of people burned tires on Thursday - the second day of protests in Managua, Nicaragua over government reforms to social security.

In the city of León, University Centre offices were torched after a peaceful protest was broken up by riot police. Key transport services were disrupted because of the clashes.

Vice President Rosario Murillo compared the violence to "vampires demanding blood to feed their political agenda", but said government was still open to talking with protesters.

Ángel Gahona was reporting on damage at a bank in the Caribbean coast town of Bluefields when a bullet hit him during his Facebook Live newscast.

Nicaraguans have been protesting for three straight days against government changes to social security, signed into law earlier this week, that increase worker contributions and lower pensions. Students from Polytechnic University in Managua barricaded their campus. "They've been met with the pro-government movement; they have been violent", she said. "That is why they are put at risk", Ortega said.

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A masked protester walks along a main avenue, littered with debris, in Managua, Nicaragua.

Nicabus, an worldwide bus line with links to Costa Rica and Honduras, said it has been forced to suspend services due to the violence.

Relative in grief at the funeral of a killed protester.

Four national televisions stations have been taken off the air since the government allegedly ordered major them off after covering the protests live.

A former Marxist guerrilla and Cold War antagonist of the United States, Mr Ortega has presided over a period of stable growth with a blend of socialist policies and capitalism.

Analysts and business leaders say the protests go beyond dissatisfaction over pension reform.

Protesters took to the social media to accuse COSEP of coming to the government's rescue, while at the same time presenting itself as a champion of civic struggle to achieve its own objectives.

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