Guatemala: protesters set fire to Congress building

Guatemala congress

Thousands protested in Guatemala’s capital Nov. 21 against a newly approved 2021 national budget that imposes deep cuts in funding for healthĀ care, education andĀ programs to combat malnutritionā€”at a time when the country is hit hard by natural disasters andĀ COVID-19. One breakaway group of protesters hurled improvised incendiary devices at theĀ Ā Congress building, setting it on fire. Police used batons and tear-gas to push protesters back, attacking not only the some 1,000 in front of Congress but also a much larger demonstration in front of the National Palace. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has condemned what it called an “excessive use of force”Ā by the National Civil Police, while the government of PresidentĀ Alejandro GiammatteiĀ accused the protesters of “terrorist acts” that will be “punished with the full force of the law.” (NYT, Al Jazeera, Prensa Libre, Prensa Libre)

Guatemala’s highlands had still not recovered fromĀ the devastation from Hurricane Eta earlier this month when the region was hit again last week by Hurricane Iota, leaving many thousands more impacted. (Telemundo)

Photo via Prensa Libre

  1. Guatemala: opposition journalist arrested

    Guatemalan police on July 29 arrested journalist Jose Ruben Zamora and raided the offices of El Periodico, the newspaper he founded, which has accused key political figures in the country of corruption. The newspaper’s staff denounced the arrestĀ as retaliation for past reporting on President Alejandro Giammattei, as well as Attorney General Consuelo Porras, who the United States censured earlier this year for “significant corruption.” The US-basedĀ Committee to Protect Journalists is calling forĀ Zamora’s release. (VOA, CPJ)