Thousands of Guatemalans resumed demonstrations this Saturday to demand the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei, whom they accuse of covering up acts of corruption and opaquely drawing up the country’s budget for 2021, which was later annulled.
“The people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people”, “We lack a poster for so much anger”, “Out with the corrupt”, “Confinement of politicians, freedom of the people,” read some of the posters that the protesters carried on the way to the Central Plaza, in front of the National Palace of Culture, the former seat of government.
In this call for the movement called # 28N, made by social networks, various sectors of civil society participated.
Several protesters have called the protest the “bean revolution”, in response to comments from a conservative deputy close to the government who called them “bean eaters.”
Among the demands of the opponents are the request for the resignation of the conservative Giammattei, who has only been in power for 10 months, and of all the deputies, for having approved a budget for 2021 which they criticize for not addressing the country’s most urgent problems , such as poverty, health and education.
A week ago the demonstrations degenerated into the partial burning of the Parliament facilities.
Amid the pressure, the Congress, with a pro-government majority, had to eliminate the new budget.
In Wednesday’s session, where the issue was evaluated, deputy Rubén Barrios, from the Valor party, said: “only our knees will bend before God, and in front of any bean eater we will be standing all the time.”
“The beans we want you to resign”, “Giammattei outside”, the protesters wrote on other posters, while a group of university students shouted in unison “Fascist President, you are the terrorist.”
The protesters wear masks, as a health security measure due to the new coronavirus pandemic, and carry blue and white Guatemalan flags.
The National Palace of Culture, the epicenter of the protests, is heavily guarded by the police.
This time there are no demonstrations in front of the Congress, where violent clashes with the police were reported on Saturday.
The right-wing Giammattei, elected for a four-year term, called for a national dialogue to readjust the budget and simultaneously denounced attempts to destabilize democracy.
An OAS mission visits the country to assess the situation.