Pro and anti-government supporters hold rallies in Nicaragua

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By Mark Armstrong
Pro and anti-government supporters hold rallies in Nicaragua

Rival rallies were held in the Nicaraguan capital Managua on Saturday both for and against the president Daniel Ortega. Theatrical beatings were staged to draw attention to a wave of violence across the country that has left hundreds dead and has divided the people.

"Health workers are with him, we will always support him," said Ortega supporter Maria Prava. "To victory, we will die with commander Daniel, the best president in the history of Nicaragua."

But other protesters have accused the state of punishing doctors who have treated his opponents, claiming that around a hundred doctors have been fired for tending to people hurt in anti-Ortega protests.

"We are here to support those medics who were fired by the Health Ministry in an unjust way," said anti-government protester Xochitl Galeano. "We are also here in solidarity with those medics who had to go into exile, who were harassed for attending to students injured in protests."

Some people accuse Ortega of nepotism and trying to cling on to power. There've been regular protests since April when the president announced a plan to overhaul the country's welfare system.