In Just a Week, ‘Nicaragua Changed’ as Protesters Cracked a Leader’s Grip

Students died at the hands of the police, human rights groups say, inciting even more protests. Then Mr. Ortega and Ms. Murillo dismissed the protesters as little groups of right-wing gangs.

“That just made us even more indignant,” said Enma Gutiérrez, a youth organizer.

More and more people joined the protests. And while the opposition movement is huge, it does not have any clear, national leaders, making it even more difficult for Mr. Ortega to tamp down.

In Just a Week, ‘Nicaragua Changed’ as Protesters Cracked a Leader’s Grip
In Just a Week, ‘Nicaragua Changed’ as Protesters Cracked a Leader’s Grip

On Sunday, when Mr. Ortega rescinded the social security measures, he failed to mention the students who died in the protests, focusing instead on how the demonstrations had been infiltrated by gangs that looted stores.

The speeches by Mr. Ortega and Ms. Murillo “are adding gasoline to the fire,” Mr. Carrión said. “If these people, this couple, were firefighters, they would be lighting the place on fire.”

Nicaraguans are furious that Mr. Ortega has not vowed to investigate the student deaths, although he released jailed students this week and put a cable news station back on the air. He was meeting some central demands, but the students insisted that it was not enough.

At the Polytechnic University in the capital, students had refused to leave and instead gathered in small groups over the weekend making homemade fire bombs. The residents of the Monimbó neighborhood of the city of Masaya also dug in their heels.

“They say this town was the cradle of Daniel Ortega and where he took his first steps,” said Mayra Pabón, a longtime supporter of the president who protested in Monimbó. “Well, he died here too in the moment that he ordered the killings of so many young people with such bright futures ahead of them.”

“He cannot step foot in Masaya ever again.”

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