Dozens of businesses looted amid Nicaragua unrest

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Mr Ortega said on Saturday he would negotiate on the reforms, but only with business leaders.

Nicaragua's Catholic bishops called for peaceful demonstrations and sheltered protesters in the cathedral of Managua.

A police crackdown on protesters and curbs on some media have fueled broader criticism of President Daniel Ortega.

The increases were the spark that ignited student protests last Wednesday that soon spread to other sectors of Nicaraguan society.

"We believe there is no longer space for dialogue", he added.

Ortega announced on Sunday the repeal of the reform in a meeting with concerned Free Trade Zone investors, but did not call off his supporters or the Police from attacking the protestors. Also, as more as tens of shops at the capital of the country, Managua were plundered.

A robust response ordered by leftist President Ortega has saw the army deployed to the streets, independent media muzzled, journalists assaulted and pro-government demonstrators mobilised to counter the protests.

"The wounds suffered by students have been from firearms". This Saturday, government's response was given hours after Nicaragua's business leadership rejected president's dialogue and demanded a cessation of repression and respect for Nicaraguan's right to protest.

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The unexpected wave of violence in an otherwise relatively tightly controlled country caused worldwide outrage.

"We condemn the violence and the excessive force used by police and others against civilians who are exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly", it said.

The U.S. State Department is accusing Nicaragua's government of overreacting to protests during days of unrest in which human rights groups say more than two dozen people have died.

Ángel Gahona was reporting on damage at a bank in the Caribbean coast town of Bluefields when a bullet hit him during his Facebook Live newscast. "Some protests result in injuries and deaths", the State Department said in a statement.

At lunchtime on Sunday, before Mr. Ortega's announcement, the streets of central Managua were largely deserted, with businesses looted or shuttered, as tension lingered.

Ortega - who had not shown his face during the crisis - appeared at noon on Saturday, local time, surrounded by the Army, Julio Cesar Aviles, in a demonstration of strength that sought to crush any doubt of the power of the regime.

"Since the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, we've had the same political leaders, they don't let anyone else come in".

He said he was willing to review the measure: "If in the talks we find a better way of carrying out these reforms, this decree can be amended or replaced by a new one".

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