Nicaragua’s army urges end to violence as protests continue

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Nicaragua’s military is urging an end to violence that has accompanied anti-government protests, while expressing solidarity with families of those killed during the unrest in recent weeks.

Demonstrations continued Sunday and have spread to at least eight departments of the Central American nation. Clashes between protesters and police and government paramilitaries have resulted in at least 60 deaths, according to rights activists. Two deaths were reported Saturday.

The military issued a statement late Saturday urging people "to stop the violence." It said dialogue "is the only route" that can avoid irreversible effects on the country.

The demonstrations began in April as protests against a since-canceled move to cut social security benefits and increase payroll taxes but have expanded into calls for President Daniel Ortega to step down.

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