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Two dead in Nicaragua protest violence as Ortega calls for ‘peace’

Nicaraguan forces on Friday attacked the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN) in Managua and Monimbó, in Masaya, killing two in the latest violence in the country hit by almost three months of unrest.

Friday’s attacks came as Ortega,in Masaya, called for peace during the second day of strikes called by the Civic Alliance, the second in three months of anti-government protests that have left over 300 dead.

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Two people were killed when government forces opened fire on the combative neighborhood of Monimbo, south Masaya, as Ortega and his supporters began a procession from the capital to the opposition stronghold, 30 kilometers (19 miles) south.

President Daniel Ortega (behind the wheel of his Mercedes is accompanied by his wife and vice-president Rosario Murillo, arriving in Masaya under heavy security

The procession this year did not end in Monimbo, as is tradition the celebration of the June 1979 “retreat” that saw thousands of guerrillas led by Ortega withdraw from Managua to Masaya to regroup, before securing victory on July 19 when president Anastasio Somoza fled the country.

On Friday, protesters in Monimbo erected barricades and vowed to prevent Ortega’s procession from passing through.

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But where Ortega was once hunkered down with allies in Masaya fighting against a dictatorship, the 72-year-old head of state now is now the one hated in the rebel heartland.

In Masaya, Ortega accused the opposition of acting “with venom and hate,” and appealed for a return to “the road of peace.”

Elsewhere at the UNAN, where students have been holed up since protests began, a medic reported several injuries after pro-government forces opened fire.

“They all came with firearms, they came to kill,” one young person told reporters from a church near the university.

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