• Sunday, Jan 24, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:51 pm

Guatemalans protest for 2nd day to demand president resign

  • Published at 10:28 pm November 23rd, 2020
Demonstrators burn leaflets with the image of President Alejandro Giammattei during a protest
Demonstrators burn leaflets with the image of President Alejandro Giammattei during a protest demanding his resignation, in Guatemala City on November 22, 2020 AFP

Masked protesters filled the central square in front of the old government palace in the historic centre of the capital. They carried signs with slogans including 'I would rather die as a rebel than live as a slave" and "Giammattei out'

Hundreds of Guatemalans took to the streets for a second day on Sunday to demand the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei, following the passage of a budget that has sparked outrage in the impoverished Central American nation.

Masked protesters filled the central square in front of the old government palace in the historic centre of the capital. They carried signs with slogans including "I would rather die as a rebel than live as a slave" and "Giammattei out."

Sunday's peaceful protests came the day after demonstrators partially burned down the Congress building.

Giammattei issued a statement on Sunday afternoon reproaching on Saturday's violent demonstrations, saying he considered the protesters to be "minority groups that seek to force a true coup d'etat."

He announced that his administration had invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter, an instrument of the Organization of American States (OAS) that allows for the ability to take sanction or take steps to guarantee the respect of constitutional order in participating countries.

In his statement, Giammattei urged dialogue with different sectors to analyze the situation, since "it is only through dialogue and concentration... that our country will be able to overcome the challenges it faces today."

The University of San Carlos, the only state-run university in the country, called for a national strike on Monday. The Committee for Peasant Development (Codeca) announced that it will block major roads throughout the country.

Vice president Guillermo Castillo, who on Friday asked Giammattei to resign with him, asked the public prosecutor's office on Sunday to investigate both the burning of Congress but also the police repression of the protests.

OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights criticized the budget and the violence against protesters, after condemning the fire at Congress.

The widespread discontent and indignation in Guatemala against Giammattei's administration and Congress have been caused by a lack of resources for battling the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the new budget.

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