GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan security forces responded with pepper spray on Sunday when demonstrators tried to approach the Congress building, where President Jimmy Morales was presenting his second state of the union report.
Although authorities have not released official figures, the Red Cross attended to eight people among the hundreds who early Sunday gathered near the legislative seat to protest against the president’s administration and policies.
Starting early on Sunday, hundreds of police, members of the presidential private security force and army soldiers – including special operations Kaibiles army troops equipped with heavy weaponry – blocked several streets around Congress, preventing access to nearby offices and buildings.
The head of the Human Rights Prosecutors Office, Jordan Rodas, who had called for respect for the demonstrators, said that the security measures had been excessive and added that he missed hearing Morales acknowledge in his report the errors that had been committed by his government.
The protesters chanted slogans such as “The report of shame” and shouted such things as “We have to achieve unity and true organization to toss out this trash, we’re proving it and we’re going to do it again.”
Among those who turned out to demonstrate were members of the Codeca peasant development committee, who will also stage protests on Monday in the country’s interior demanding that the president resign, show “respect and respond truthfully” because they say the situation in the country continues to be very bad.