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Guatemala: Government represses citizens to protect business sector and Attorney General

(translation by Rights Action)

The third day of continuous demonstrations and road blockades remains tense with the arrival of riot police and shock groups seeking to evict and intimidate the demonstrators demanding the resignation of Consuelo Porras, her prosecutors and Judge Fredy Orellana.

Prior to 8:30 p.m., anti-riot forces repressed hundreds of citizens in the peaceful occupation of the highway in the Puerto Quetzal, Escuintla. [...] Alida Vicente, authority of the Poqomam Indigenous Municipality of Palín Escuintla, denounced that the police chief Escuintla ordered the use of violence to evict them from the highway. The riot police were accompanied by truck drivers to attack the people protesting the coup d'état.

Several people were beaten by the security forces. The demonstration included pregnant women, elderly women and children demanding the return of democracy in Guatemala and respect for the results of the general elections that gave the presidency to Bernardo Arévalo and vice-presidency to Karin Herrera of the Semilla party. [...]

Shock groups in front of the MP

While this happened on the road to Puerto Quetzal, in Guatemala City, vendors from La Terminal market in zone 4, who are part of one of the associations that control the largest food and grocery sales in the city, arrived at night at the head office of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) with the objective of forcibly evicting hundreds of people holding a peaceful sit-in to demand the resignation of the Attorney General.

Armed with sticks with nails, machetes and wearing ski masks, they appeared in two groups from the darkness, near the headquarters of the MP in Zone 1. The group hurled insults at the citizens who are protesting against the illegal actions of Attorney General Consuelo Porras Argueta, protesters who together with people demonstrating in more than 20 points of the country since last Monday.

After the intervention of the PNC (National Police), the shock groups withdrew. The vendors of the Terminal de la Zona 4 were the political force that accompanied Sandra Torres in the second round of elections and have been characterized as a shock group used by governments accused of corruption and impunity in the last 15 years. [...]

Pro-Mazariego CUNOC groups in Quetzaltenango

In the city of Quetzaltenango, citizens protesting in the Parque Centroamérica have denounced that shock groups linked to the leadership of the Centro Universitario de Occidente (Cunoc), and linked to Walter Mazariegos Biolis (whom the government imposed as de facto rector in 2022 and linked to the ‘covenant of the corrupt’/’pacto de corruptos’), arrived to provoke the citizens who were gathered to protest against the coup d'état and against the Attorney General of the MP.

Business elites pressuring for repression

Various business chambers published public communiqués pressuring the government of President Alejandro Giammattei to clear the highways. […] Different spokespersons of the organized business sector are requesting that government forces intervene to evict the citizens' protest demanding the resignation of the Attorney General.

K'iche people of Totonicapán on alert

At 9pm, people from several cantons and regions of Totonicapán alerted of the presence of anti-riot forces trying to enter the department. This caused the mobilization of neighbors to close all accesses and prevent the entry of the security forces. They reject that the government uses the police to restrict their rights to demonstration, expression and organization.

The alert was sent out and the people took to the streets to organize and prevent the riot police from repressing the population. The authorities of the 48 Cantons call on the population to remain calm and not to succumb to any provocations.

Electoral coup d’etat: ‘Death by a 1000 cuts’

It is impossible to keep up with the attacks being carried out, daily, by the ‘covenant of the corrupt’ government and allies on the electoral process and against the Semilla Party – a ‘death by a 1000 cuts’ strategy, let alone increasing repression against protesters, judges, lawyers and prosecutors.

Meanwhile, more and more people, in more and more regions of the country, are initiating peaceful protests and road blocks.

Rights Action calls for Americans and Canadians to keep sharing these informations widely (including media outlets), and to contact your Senators, Members of Congress and Parliamentarian, urge them to publicly support the Semilla Party and President-elect Bernardo Arevalo and VP-elect Karin Herrera, and to support calls for the main coup plotters to resign: Attorney General Consuelo Porras, special prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, Judge Fredy Orellana.

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