In a bid to calm the protests - the biggest of his 11-year presidency - Ortega agreed Saturday to speak with the private sector about social security reforms, only to be rebuffed by Nicaragua's top private-sector business union.
A statement signed the "self-convened people" outlined seven conditions, including immediately halting violence and including diverse social groups in the dialogue process such as students, indigenous and Afro-descendent people, environmentalists and other groups.
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.
From the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was "very worried" about the situation in the Central American nation and joined local bishops in seeking an end to all violence.
The BBC claims one human rights group alleges the protest death toll was more than 25.
The center's director, Vilma Nunez, warned that there was "a lot of misinformation" going around that made obtaining the figure hard.
The government on Friday, April 20, said the number of people killed in capital Managua since the protests started on Wednesday, April 18, was 10, AFP added, saying it was the last official tally.
Late on Saturday, local media said a reporter was shot and killed during a live broadcast from Bluefields, a town on the Caribbean coast hit by the unrest.
"They want to destroy Nicaragua's good image that has cost us so much to build and to sow hate again", he said in a televised address, comparing the country's recent history to its civil war past.
Nicabus, an worldwide bus line with links to Costa Rica and Honduras, said it had suspended services due to the violence.
The INSS had made a decision to revoke "the resolution of April 16, which acted as a trigger that started this whole situation", he told them of the measure that would have also increased employer contributions while decreasing the overall pension amount by 5 percent.
Ortega says his government is willing to enter into talks over the dispute.
Throughout the protests, journalists have reportedly faced attacks, been temporarily detained and had their equipment stolen. The country remains one of the poorest in the Americas.
The government said the changes were needed to shore up Nicaragua's troubled social security system.
The president invited the Catholic Church to participate in the dialogue as guarantors of peace, while reiterating his call for a broad dialogue on the reforms of social security laws, tax reforms, among other issues.