Nicaragua Cancels Social Security Overhaul

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The protests quickly spread nationwide, with scenes of massive rock throwing, burning barricades, tear gas and some gunfire.

The government approved the social security changes Wednesday in an effort to stop the widening deficit in the social security system.

Parts of the capital were strewn with rubble, remnants of clashes between demonstrators and riot police.

On Friday night Vice President, first lady and government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said nine people had been confirmed dead in the clashes, though the human rights group Cenidh said Saturday it had counted at least 25 deaths nationwide.

Protests also arose after the government fast-tracked legislation in 2013 granting Hong Kong-based HKND a 50-year concession, renewable for another 50, to build and operate a trans-oceanic canal across Nicaragua in return for a payment of $10 million a year once it's up and running.

Since Wednesday, massive protests have been taking place in Nicaragua, mostly headed by young people, who are against a recently announced reform of the social security system. The kids do not even know the party that is manipulating them.

But top Nicaraguan business lobby COSEP has backed peaceful protests against the government, and said it would not enter talks with Ortega to review the social security plan until he had ended police repression and restored freedom of expression.

Also, according to local media reports documented cases of use of firearms.

A thorough examination pursued to support the social security system of the country - Nicaragua along with the combined, increased taxes as well as reduced benefits. However, Ortega has declined to do so and said he plans to prosecute them. Ironically, some believe Ortega is trying to instate a dictatorship that mirrors the one that he overthrew in 1979. By Sunday, only one was still barred.

From the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was "very worried" about the situation in the Central American nation and joined local bishops in seeking an end to all violence.

"We demand that the Nicaraguan government cease the brutal attacks against the demonstrators and the civilian population", the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights said in a joint statement with the International Federation for Human Rights.

"The Nicaraguan State has to fulfill its worldwide obligations to guarantee that the people can freely exercise their rights of freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful gathering and association", a government spokesman said.

The president has criticized protesters as criminal gangs and defended the government's response.

"There are social sins that no human being can ignore", they wrote.

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