TOPSHOT-NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST-INSS

Tensions Are High in Nicaragua After Deadly Protests

With more than 25 people killed, the country is uncertain whether dialogue and peace can happen.

Nicaragua has been on edge after a nearly week-long unrest that left at least 27 dead and hundreds arrested. The initially peaceful demonstrations organized by students last Wednesday to protest a proposed welfare reform quickly turned violent after riot police responded with live ammunition and tear gas. The demonstrations grew on Monday to become one of the largest protests President Daniel Ortega has seen since he took office in 2007. To ease tensions, the government has now released some of the student protesters arrested during the clashes, but strong anti-government sentiment still persists. Here’s a look at some of the most dramatic moments from the protests.

NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrations began on April 18 after President Ortega announced a welfare reform plan that will increase workers and employers' contributions to Nicaragua's Institute of Social Security while cutting benefits. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America. (Pictured: a student clash with riot police agents outside a university on April 21.)

NICARAGUA-POLITICS-PROTEST RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images

The multi-day demonstrations intensified on Monday, when tens of thousands of Nicaraguans carrying their national flags marched on the streets of the capital Managua and other cities to demand the resignation of President Ortega after his police force cracked down on protesters brutally.

NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST-INSS INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

A student protester is being treated after riot police sprayed tear gas at her.

NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST-FUNERAL INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

Friends and relatives grieve next to the coffin of Alvaro Conrado, 15, a high school student killed during the protest on April 21.

NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST-INSS INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, President Ortega announced he would scrap the reform plan, but anger on the streets has not died down. (Pictured: Students burn tires in the streets during clashes with riot police.)

NICARAGUA-POLITICS-PROTEST INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters accused 72-year-old Ortega, a former left-wing guerrilla fighter, of dictatorship and nepotism. In 2017, his wife Rosario Murrilo joined his office as vice president. (Pictured: A protester holds a sign with the photos of Ortega and Murrilo that says: "Wanted for destroying a country. Reward: A Free Nicaragua.")

NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST-INSS INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

A student holds a makeshift mortar during clashes with riot police in front of the University of Engineering on April 20.

NICARAGUA-STUDENTS-PROTEST INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

Riot policemen aide an injured colleague in front of the University of Engineering on April 20. At least one police officer has been killed, and several shops were looted during the unrest.

NICARAGUA-INSS-STUDENTS-PROTEST INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

A woman takes a peak at the protests outside her house.

NICARAGUA-POLITICS-PROTEST INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

Students light candles during a vigil for victims on April 24.

NICARAGUA-POLITICS-PROTEST INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

Nicaragua, though impoverished, has been one of the more stable countries in Central America compared to the neighboring Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that are plagued by violence and political unrest.