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Protesters burn a part of Guatemala’s Congress constructing

Protesters burn a part of Guatemala’s Congress constructing

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Hundreds of protesters broke into Guatemala’s Congress and burned a part of the constructing Saturday amid rising demonstrations in opposition to President Alejandro Giammattei and the legislature for approving a funds that reduce academic and well being spending.

The protest got here as about 7,000 individuals had been demonstrating in entrance of the National Palace in Guatemala City in opposition to the funds, which protesters say was negotiated and handed by legislators in secret whereas the Central American nation was distracted by the fallout of back-to-back hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video on social media confirmed flames taking pictures out a window within the legislative constructing. According to media reviews, safety brokers fired tear gasoline at protestors and there have been individuals injured.

Giammattei condemned the fires in his Twitter account Saturday.

“Anyone who is proven to have participated in the criminal acts will be punished with the full force of the law.” He wrote that he defended people’s right to protest, “but neither can we allow people to vandalize public or private property.”

The president mentioned he had been assembly with varied teams to current modifications to the controversial funds.

Discontent had been constructing over the 2021 funds on social media and clashes erupted throughout demonstrations on Friday. Guatemalans had been angered as a result of lawmakers authorized $65,000 to pay for meals for themselves, however reduce funding for coronavirus sufferers and human rights businesses.

Vice President Guillermo Castillo has supplied to resign, telling Giammattei that each males ought to resign their positions “for the great of the nation.” He additionally steered vetoing the authorized funds, firing authorities officers and trying extra outreach to varied sectors across the nation.

Giammattei had not responded publicly to that proposal and Castillo didn’t share the president’s response to his proposal. Castillo mentioned he wouldn’t resign alone.

The spending plan was negotiated in secret and authorized by the congress earlier than daybreak Wednesday. It additionally handed whereas the nation was distracted by the fallout of hurricanes Eta and Iota, which introduced torrential rains to a lot of Central America.

The Roman Catholic Church management in Guatemala additionally known as on Giammattei to veto the funds Friday.

“It was a devious blow to the individuals as a result of Guatemala was between pure disasters, there are indicators of presidency corruption, clientelism within the humanitarian assist,” mentioned Jordan Rodas, the nation’s human rights prosecutor.

He mentioned the funds appeared to favor ministries which have traditionally been hotspots of corruption.

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