TIANSHANNET   ›   News   ›   World News

Nicaraguan leader opens national dialogue on political unrest

  MANAGUA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega on Wednesday presided over the opening of a national dialogue to resolve recent political unrest and deadly protests.

  The dialogue between the government, the private sector, opposition groups and nongovernmental organizations is being mediated by Nicaragua's Episcopal Conference (CEN) and held at an archdiocese in western Managua.

  Ortega arrived at the meeting accompanied by his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, and his daughters, and a bevy of bodyguards.

  Protesters outside the venue yelled at Ortega and his retinue as he arrived, while members of the National Workers Front (FNT), which supports the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, chanted "Daniel, Daniel, Daniel!"

  Ortega told the opening session that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) was invited "to accompany" the dialogue and to send representatives to investigate the violence and allegations of political prisoners or disappeared.

  Nicaragua has seen violent protests since April 18, after the government announced changes to the social security system. Those changes have since been revoked, but demonstrations have continued.

  Human rights organizations say more than 50 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, some 500 people have been injured, and a large number have been arrested.