Violence continues in Nicaragua as OAS leaders seek solution

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Sandinista supporters of President Daniel Ortega wait for his arrival in Masaya, Nicaragua, Friday, July 13, 2018. According to human rights groups, more than 300 person have been killed since April 19, since demonstrations erupted against the government of President Ortega. Most of them opponents of the regime. (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Clashes between supporters and opponents of Nicaragua's Sandinista government raged as regional leaders held a session in Washington to find a solution to the crisis.

Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and the United States sponsored an eight-point draft resolution at the Organization of American States calling on President Daniel Ortega's government to support a calendar for elections. They hope it will be put to vote next week.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said this week that 264 people have been killed since the protests began in mid-April — a figure disputed by Sandinista officials.

Ortega traveled in a caravan Friday to the city of Masaya for a rally, while in Managua clashes intensified as police and pro-government forces tried to evict students occupying the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua.

The Red Cross said there were wounded but did not provide a number

Tensions erupted after the government announced cuts to social security. The changes were quickly reversed, but protests took on a wider call for Ortega to step down.