HUNDREDS of people helped set fire to Guatemala’s Congress building during on-going mass anti-government protests.
Crowds gathered in the country’s capital to protest the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a controversial national budget. Protestors are calling for the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei, who came to power in January on an anti-crime platform but has sparked criticism over his response to the pandemic.
Police arrested 20 people and another 50 were injured in clashes, one severely. A separate peaceful protest took place nearby in Guatemala City’s historic centre, with signs in the crowd reading ‘No More Corruption’ and ‘They Messed with the Wrong Generation’. The government recently released its largest-ever budget of $13 billion, which angered many for assigning swathes of cash to big-business infrastructure projects. Poverty is widespread in the Central American nation, with half of all children under 5 reportedly malnourished.
Calls on Giammattei to resign are even echoed by his Vice President, Guillermo Castillo who said he’d asked the President to resign with him ‘for the good of the country’. In response to the burning of the Congress building, the President stated that people ‘had the right to demonstrate according to the law’ but warned that those who carried out ‘criminal acts will fall under the full weight of the law.’
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