ANTIGUA, Guatemala — Hundreds 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 reduce funding for well being care and schooling.
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 houses 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 reduce spending on schooling 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 instant outrage and led to demonstrations throughout the nation.
One group of protesters kicked within the home windows of the Congress constructing and set a fireplace that despatched flames billowing out of the doorway, social media movies confirmed. Law enforcement officials sprayed tear fuel at demonstrators and firefighters shortly put the blaze out, in accordance with native information experiences.
On Twitter, Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, denounced the arson. “We can not allow private and non-private property to be vandalized,” he said in a tweet, including that those that dedicated “prison acts” would “be punished with the total drive of the regulation.” In an try and 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 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 supplied 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.