1000’s of individuals have staged the largest protest but in opposition to Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, with some setting hearth to Congress, fuelled by anger over cuts within the 2021 funds because the nation reels from back-to-back storms.
Waving Guatemalan flags and indicators declaring “Giammattei, resign,” demonstrators in Guatemala Metropolis on Saturday known as for Giammattei to veto the funds, which legislators permitted at daybreak final Wednesday whilst Hurricane Iota was drenching elements of the Central American nation nonetheless grappling with the destruction from a previous storm.
At 99.7 billion quetzals ($12.9bn), the funds elevated public debt whereas slicing funding for healthcare, training, human rights and the justice system, outraging folks from college students to enterprise leaders in a yr marked by the financial disaster of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Congress allotted more cash for his or her meals and didn’t allocate cash to the poor folks,” Diego Herrera, a 25-year-old scholar, advised Reuters information company.
Whereas most protesters assembled peacefully on the principal sq., others smashed the home windows of the Congress constructing and set hearth to the inside, sending columns of orange flames rippling out, social media and Reuters photographs present. A cloud of gray smoke could possibly be seen blocks away.
A spokeswoman for San Juan de Dios Basic Hospital, one of many capital’s largest hospitals, stated it was treating 14 folks for a number of accidents and tear fuel inhalation, after clashes with police in riot gear who used power to disperse the crowds.
Twenty-two folks have been arrested, a court docket spokesman stated.