mcloudy.png
Tuesday December 1st, 2020 1:16PM

Protesters torch Guatemala's Congress building amid unrest

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Hundreds of protesters broke into Guatemala's Congress and burned part of the building Saturday amid growing demonstrations against President Alejandro Giammattei and the legislature for approving a controversial budget that cut educational and health spending.

The incident came as about 10,000 people were protesting in front of the National Palace in Guatemala City against corruption and the budget, which protesters say was negotiated and passed by legislators in secret while the Central American country was distracted by the fallout of back-to-back hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 1,000 protesters were demonstrating outside the Congress building.

Video on social media showed flames shooting out a window in the legislative building. Police fired tear gas at protestors, and about a dozen people were reported injured.

“We are outraged by poverty, injustice, the way they have stolen the public's money," said psychology professor Rosa de Chavarría.

"I feel like the future is being stolen from us. We don’t see any changes, this cannot continue like this,” said Mauricio Ramírez, a 20-year-old university student.

The amount of damage to the building was unclear, but the flames initially appear to have affected legislative offices, rather than the main hall of congress. Protesters also set some bus stations on fire.

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 said he had been meeting with various groups to present changes to the controversial budget.

Discontent had been building over the 2021 budget on social media and clashes erupted during demonstrations on Friday. Guatemalans were angered because lawmakers approved $65,000 to pay for meals for themselves, but cut funding for coronavirus patients and human rights agencies, among other things.

Protesters were also upset by recent moves by the Supreme Court and Attorney General they saw as attempts to undermine the fight against corruption.

Vice President Guillermo Castillo has offered to resign, telling Giammattei that both men should resign their positions “for the good of the country." He also suggested vetoing the approved budget, firing government officials and attempting more outreach to various sectors around the country.

Giammattei had not responded publicly to that proposal and Castillo did not share the president’s reaction to his proposal. Castillo said he would not resign alone.

The spending plan was negotiated in secret and approved by the congress before dawn Wednesday. It also passed while the country was distracted by the fallout of hurricanes Eta and Iota, which brought torrential rains to much of Central America.

The Roman Catholic Church leadership in Guatemala also called on Giammattei to veto the budget Friday.

“It was a devious blow to the people because Guatemala was between natural disasters, there are signs of government corruption, clientelism in the humanitarian aid,” said Jordan Rodas, the country’s human rights prosecutor.

He said the budget appeared to favor ministries that have historically been hotspots of corruption.

In 2015, mass streets protests against corruption led to the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina, his vice president Roxana Baldetti, and members of his Cabinet. Both the former president and Baldetti are in jail awaiting trials in various corruption cases.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Personal Finance
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Protesters torch Guatemala's Congress building amid unrest
Hundreds of protesters have broken into Guatemala’s Congress and burned part of the building amid growing demonstrations against President Alejandro Giammattei and the legislature for approving a controversial budget that cut educational and health spending
10:08PM ( 30 minutes ago )
AP source: VanVleet staying with Raptors; Hayward to Hornets
A person with direct knowledge of the discussions tells The Associated Press that guard Fred VanVleet has agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract to remain with the Toronto Raptors
9:59PM ( 39 minutes ago )
In blistering ruling, judge throws out Trump suit in Pa.
A federal judge has dismissed the Trump campaign’s longshot effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania
9:54PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Protesters burn part of Guatemala's Congress building
Hundreds of protesters have broken into Guatemala’s Congress and burned part of the building amid growing demonstrations against President Alejandro Giammattei and the legislature for approving a budget that cut educational and health spending
7:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after battling COVID-19
Housing Secretary Ben Carson is crediting unapproved, experimental treatments with saving his life after saying he became “desperately ill” following his infection with the coronavirus
7:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
G-20 summit opens as leaders urge united response to virus
The Group of 20 summit has begun with appeals by the world’s most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year’s gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations
7:02PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Donald Trump Jr. doing 'very well' with virus
President Donald Trump says his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is doing “very well” in quarantine after becoming infected with the coronavirus
1:15PM ( 9 hours ago )
Bodies of man and his slave unearthed from ashes at Pompeii
Italian archaeological officials say the skeletal remains of two people believed to be those of a rich man and his male slave have been discovered at the site of ancient Pompeii
12:15PM ( 10 hours ago )
She fled Ethiopia's fighting. Now she warns of 'catastrophe'
One of the few hundred evacuees from Ethiopia's sealed-off Tigray region has provided in an interview with The Associated Press rare details of anger, desperation and growing hunger as the country's government wages war and seeks to arrest the region's defiant leaders
11:43AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online National News
France: Bill on publishing police images sparks protests
Thousands of people in France have protested a proposed security law that would make it a criminal offense to publish images of police officers with the intent to cause them harm
3:03PM ( 7 hours ago )
Protests staged across France against bill on police images
Thousands of people took to the streets in Paris and other French cities Saturday to protest a proposed security law they say would impinge on freedom of information and media rights
12:27PM ( 10 hours ago )
White House Rose Garden adds Japanese American's sculpture
The White House Rose Garden has a new addition, but it isn't a floral variety
9:33AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Hospitals in India's capital near capacity
India has reported 46,232 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the situation particularly alarming in New Delhi
1:04AM ( 21 hours ago )
Analysis: With silence, GOP enables Trump's risky endgame
Republicans in Congress are engaged in a risky but calculated bet that once President Donald Trump has exhausted his legal challenges to the election, he will come to grips with his loss to President-elect Joe Biden
12:56AM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: China starts mass testing 3 million in Tianjin
China is starting mass testing on 3 million people in a section of the northern city of Tianjin and has tested 4,015 others in a hospital in Shanghai after the discovery of a pair of cases there
12:42AM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Texas National Guard team helps El Paso morgues
The Texas National Guard has sent a 36-member team to El Paso to assist morgues in the border region with the number of dead as a result of COVID-19
5:49PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: US reaches 12 million total coronavirus cases
More than 12 million people in the U.S. have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic
5:07PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Midwest governors: Stay home for Thanksgiving
Coronavirus infections are ravaging South Dakota, where more than half of tests have come back positive for weeks
12:17PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Business
Trump makes late-term bid to lower prescription drug costs
President Donald Trump's administration is trying to close out major unfinished business on lowering prescription drug costs
5:37PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: WH disputes concerns about getting vaccine out
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is disputing Joe Biden’s concerns about the government’s ability to distribute a coronavirus vaccine after one is approved, given that the Trump administration is refusing to share information with the president-elect’s team
2:17PM ( 1 day ago )
Macy's loses money in 3Q; virus surges into holiday season
Macy’s swung to a loss and sales tumbled 22% as the department store chain struggled to bring shoppers back to stores during a pandemic
1:45PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Personal Finance
AP source: VanVleet staying with Raptors; Hayward to Hornets
A person with direct knowledge of the discussions tells The Associated Press that guard Fred VanVleet has agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract to remain with the Toronto Raptors
9:59PM ( 43 minutes ago )
In blistering ruling, judge throws out Trump suit in Pa.
A federal judge has dismissed the Trump campaign’s longshot effort to block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania
9:54PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Asia Today: Cases in Japan hit record amid holiday travel
The daily tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan has hit a record for the fourth day at 2,508
9:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
EXPLAINER: Trump's election challenges falling flat in court
While President Donald Trump vows to press ahead with efforts to overturn the election, judges across the country have consistently swatted down his legal challenges
8:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ramsey, No. 19 Northwestern top No. 10 Wisconsin 17-7
Peyton Ramsey threw two touchdown passes and No. 19 Northwestern shut down Graham Mertz and No. 10 Wisconsin for a 17-7 victory that put the undefeated Wildcats in control of the Big Ten West
8:54PM ( 1 hour ago )