Protesters torch Guatemala's Congress building amid unrest

Riot police form a cordon as flames shoot out from the Congress building after protesters set a part of the building on fire in Guatemala City Saturday Nov. 21 2020. Hundreds of protesters were protesting in various parts of the country Saturday agains

It also passed while the country was distracted by the fallout of hurricanes Eta and Iota, which brought torrential rains to much of Central America.

Hundreds of Guatemalans partly burned the Congress building Saturday in a protest demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei, following the passage of a budget that has sparked outrage in the impoverished Central American nation.

The demonstrators, a lot of them hooded, broke the entrance door to Congress as well as its windows, hurling flaming torches inside, with no deputies present inside the building.

A spokeswoman for San Juan de Dios General Hospital, one of the capital city's biggest hospitals, said it was treating 14 people for multiple injuries and tear gas poisoning after protesters clashed with police in riot gear who used tear gas to disperse the crowds.

President Alejandro Giammattei condemned the acts of violence via his Twitter on Saturday.

I feel like the future is being stolen from us We dont see any changes this can not continue like this said Mauricio Ramirez a 20yearold university student. "But we can not allow vandalism of public or private property", he posted.

People in the country were angered because the budget had approved $65,000 to pay for meals for themselves, but slashed funding for human rights agencies and Covid-19 patients.

And Mr Castillo has said he would not resign alone.

The widespread discontent and indignation in Guatemala against Giammattei's administration and Congress are caused by a lack of resources for battling the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the new budget.

"It was a devious blow to the people because Guatemala was between natural disasters, there are signs of government corruption, clientelism in the humanitarian aid", Jordan Rodas, the country's human rights prosecutor, said.



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