November 13, 2018 / 2:34 AM / a month ago

Nicaragua says anti-government protests caused $1 billion in economic damages

MANAGUA (Reuters) - Nicaragua’s government said on Monday that the economic damages from protests against President Daniel Ortega between April and July amounted to almost $1.0 billion and that some 120,000 jobs were lost during the period.

The transportation sector faced losses of $525 million, the tourism industry lost $231 million the public sector $205 million(159.37 million pounds), for a total of $961 million, Nicaragua’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The people of Nicaragua were subjected to an attempted coup by political groups disguised as non-governmental organizations, associated with organised crime and financed from abroad,” the statement said.

Nicaragua has been roiled by unrest since demonstrations began against planned welfare cuts by Ortega’s government in April, which then spiralled into a wider protest against him.

The crackdown on protesters has sparked widespread international condemnation. Ortega’s supporters said the protests have been orchestrated by his opponents to remove the former Marxist guerrilla from power.

Local human rights groups said more than 300 people have been killed in the protests. Ortega’s government disputes those figures and said around 200 people have died.

Nicaragua’s gross domestic product is forecast to contract 4 percent in 2018, in part due to the protests, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has said it documented at least six “possible extrajudicial executions” in Nicaragua during a government crackdown on the protests.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ latest findings indicate that 325 people have been killed during the protests, including 21 police officers.

Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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