A rights group in Nicaragua has said that at least two more people have died during violent overnight protests against embattled President Daniel Ortega.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) told AFP news agency on Saturday that one person had been killed in the northern city of Jinotega and another in the capital, Managua.
The incidents brought the death toll since demonstrations began in April to 137, AFP said.
Protesters have taken to the streets demanding Ortega’s removal, accusing authorities of using “lethal force” to crack down on the demonstrations.
Student organisers said the young man who died in Jinotega was killed during an armed attack on protesters who were guarding a road barricade intended to keep security forces back.
“Paramilitaries linked to the government gunned down boys who were fighting in the streets for liberty and democracy,” said a statement from the city’s student movement, calling it “a night of terror”.
In Managua, a young motorcyclist died from a bullet to the neck after two armed men on board motorcycles chased and shot him, according to local media.
Demonstrators continued to block roads throughout Nicaragua as part of the mass protests demanding the removal of Ortega, a former fighter who has held office for 11 years but faces increasing opposition, even from one-time allies.
The country’s influential Catholic bishops met on Thursday with Ortega to discuss a plan to reboot talks to quell the crisis, presenting “the pain and anguish of people who have suffered in recent weeks” to the leftist leader.
Silvio Jose Baez, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, said Ortega “asked us for a period of reflection to give us an answer, which we asked he give us in writing” – after which they will consider the feasibility of reviving talks.