ANTIGUA, Guatemala — 1000’s of protesters took to the streets in Guatemala’s capital on Saturday, setting fireplace to the nation’s congressional constructing in a present of anger over a finances invoice handed this week that minimize funding for well being care and training.
The demonstrations in Guatemala Metropolis, which additionally included peaceable marches within the central plaza, rocked a nation nonetheless recovering from back-to-back hurricanes that displaced thousands of people, destroyed properties and obliterated critical infrastructure. As heavy rains introduced on by the second storm pummeled impoverished cities in Guatemala’s highlands and coastal areas on Wednesday, the nation’s Congress handed a finances that minimize spending on training and well being in favor of accelerating lawmakers’ meal stipends.
The invoice, which additionally proposed gutting a fund to fight malnutrition and slashed funding for the judiciary, set off quick outrage and led to demonstrations throughout the nation.
One group of protesters kicked within the home windows of the Congress constructing and set a hearth that despatched flames billowing out of the doorway, social media movies confirmed. Law enforcement officials sprayed tear fuel at demonstrators and firefighters rapidly put the blaze out, in line with native information reviews.
On Twitter, Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, denounced the arson. “We can not allow private and non-private property to be vandalized,” he stated in a tweet, including that those that dedicated “legal acts” would “be punished with the total power of the regulation.” In an try to appease demonstrators, the president additionally stated in an earlier information launch that he was reviewing attainable modifications to the finances.
However the frustration with Mr. Giammattei’s management has additionally reached the very best ranges of his personal cupboard.
On Friday, Vice President Guillermo Castillo stated in a information convention that he had “little communication with the president” and provided to resign, however provided that Mr. Giammattei stepped down with him. Mr. Giammattei has not responded to Mr. Castillo’s feedback.
Nic Wirtz reported from Antigua, Guatemala, and Natalie Kitroeff from Mexico Metropolis.