EbeneInfo – CA – Protesters set fire to the Guatemalan Congress building over budget cuts


Hundreds of protesters broke into Guatemala’s Congress and burned part of the building amid mounting anger over approval of a controversial budget that slashed education and spending health

The incident occurred as around 7,000 people gathered outside Guatemala City’s National Palace to protest corruption and the budget, which protesters say was negotiated and passed in secret as the Central American country was distracted by the fallout from the return hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic

A video on social media showed flames firing from a window of the legislative building Police fired tear gas at protesters

« I feel like the future is being stolen from us, » said Mauricio Ramírez, a 20-year-old university student

The extent of the damage to the building was unclear, but the flames initially appeared to affect legislative offices, rather than the main hall of Congress Protesters also set fire to some bus stations

« Anyone who is proven to have participated in criminal acts will be punished with the full force of law, » he wrote.

He said he was defending the right of people to protest « but neither can we allow people to vandalize public or private property »

The president said he had met with various groups to present changes to the controversial budget

Discontent over the 2021 budget had increased on social media before clashes erupted during Friday’s protests

Guatemalans were angry that members of Congress approved US $ 65,000 ($ 89,000) to pay for their meals themselves, but cut funding for coronavirus patients and advocacy agencies of man, among others

Recent actions by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General, viewed by citizens as attempts to undermine the fight against corruption, have also angered Guatemalans

Vice President Guillermo Castillo offered to step down and told M Giammattei that the two men should step down « for the good of the country »

He also suggested vetoing the approved budget, sacking government officials and trying to raise more awareness in various sectors of the country

But M Giammattei did not respond publicly to this proposal and Mr. Castillo did not share the President’s reaction to his proposal

The spending plan was negotiated in secret and approved by Congress before dawn on Wednesday

It also passed as the country was distracted by the fallout from Hurricanes Eta and Iota, which brought torrential rains across much of Central America

The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Guatemala also called M Giammattei to veto the budget on Friday

« It was a devious blow to the people because Guatemala was between natural disasters, there are signs of government corruption, patronage in humanitarian aid, » said Jordan Rodas, human rights attorney. man of the country

In 2015, mass street protests against corruption led to the resignation of then-President Otto Pérez Molina, his Vice-President Roxana Baldetti and members of his cabinet

The former president and Ms Baldetti are in prison awaiting trial in various corruption cases

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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Guatemala, demonstration, Alejandro Giammattei

EbeneInfo – CA – Protesters set fire to the Guatemalan Congress building due to budget cuts

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-22/guatemalas-congress-building-set-on-fire-during-protest/12908934

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