FIRST AIRED: July 15, 2018

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00:00:02
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SOUND] A
least one person is dead and others are wounded on Sunday after armed pro-government supporters in Nicaragua fired on student protesters who were forced to seek refuge in a church. A delegation of Catholic bishops on Saturday secured the release of dozens of young protesters trapped overnight inside the church under a hail of bullets from gunmen loyal to Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega prompting fresh criticism of a violent crackdown against opposition to his rule.
00:00:33
Nearly three months of clashes between pro-Ortega forces and demonstrators calling for his ouster have claimed almost 300 lives in the bloodiest protest in Nicaragua since the country's civil war ended in 1990. The mother of a protester who was holed up in a church told Reuters that the students spent the night crouched on the floor fearing for their lives as the gun men fired shots that ricochet inside the church.
00:00:58
Nicaragua has been gripped by unrest since April when Ortega, a former Marxist guerrila leader, proposed reducing pension benefits to ease budgetary pressures. Even though the plan was later dropped, it provoked violent clashes and calls for Ortega to step down. A nationwide strike emptied streets on Friday and businesses shut their doors heeding calls by civil society groups who want Ortega to resign and stage early elections.