He has also said, "We hope there would be a series of electoral reforms, structural changes to the electoral authority – free, just and transparent elections, international observation without conditions … Effectively the democratization of the country."
Fr. Vicente Martínez Bermúdez, a priest of the Diocese of Matagalpa, has reported that over the weekend he was detained by a group of 20 hooded men and threatened with death. Another priest of the Matagalpa diocese was wounded by shrapnel May 15 while trying to separate protesters and security forces, the AP reported.
Protests began April 18 after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protestors were killed by security forces initially.
Barricades and roadblocks are now found throughout the country, and clashes frequently turn lethal.
Peace talks resumed June 25 under the Church's mediation.
But the day prior, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights charged that Matagalpa, as well as Diriamba, Managua, Masaya, Nagarote, and Tipitapa were attacked by "combined forces" made up of regular police, riot police, paramilitaries, and pro-government vigilantes.
The Nicaraguan government has suggested that protestors are killing their own supporters so as to destabilize Ortega's administration.
The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega's authoritarian bent.
Ortega has shown resistance to calls for elections, which are not scheduled until 2021, to be held early.
Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.
He was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.
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This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.