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2 Killed and 50 Wounded In Latest Violent Anti-government Clashes in Nicaragua (Photos)

At least two people were killed and 50 wounded in clashes between protesters wielding homemade weapons and the police.

Since protests began last month, 76 people have been killed and more than 800 wounded, according to a preliminary report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), submitted before Wednesday’s clashes.

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Initially triggered by now-aborted reforms to the near-bankrupt social security system, the unrest broadened into a rejection by many Nicaraguans of President Daniel Ortega, who is seen as autocratic.

The latest clashes broke out late Wednesday between opposition demonstrators and pro-government groups, with the worst occurring in Leon, northwest of the capital Managua.

A 31-year-old man, Manuel Chevez, was shot dead when government-linked groups tried to evict students and residents from a barricade on the main road to Leon, the man’s aunt Justa Ramirez said.

A second man, identified as Luis Diaz and belonging to the pro-government group, was allegedly struck by a homemade mortar bomb, said local Red Cross director Marcio Ocon.

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During the clashes, which lasted about five hours, 54 people were wounded by a mixture of gunfire, rubber bullets and blunt instruments, according to the Red Cross.

Chevez’s aunt said he had been shot by a rifle. ‘He was shot with an AK, because it is a shot from an AK that he has on his forehead,’ she said.

Clashes also occurred in other Nicaraguan cities.

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