Thousands of Nicaraguans woke up in the streets Monday after a sleepless night rocked by two strong earthquakes, part of a string of tremors that have kept the country on edge since late last week.

A magnitude-6.1 quake Thursday evening has been followed by hundreds of small aftershocks and at least seven quakes powerful enough to send people running in panic from homes and businesses, including a magnitude-6.6 tremor Friday.

The Sandinista government has placed the country on red alert, the highest possible level, and is urging Nicaraguans to sleep outside their homes until further notice. Nicaragua's capital was devastated in 1972 by a magnitude-6.2 quake that killed nearly 10,000 people. - AP