Protesters burn part of Guatemala’s Congress building


Hundreds of protesters broke into Guatemala’s Congress and burned part of the building Saturday amid growing demonstrations against President Alejandro Giammattei and the legislature for approving a controversial budget that cut educational and health spending, reports AP.

The incident came as about 7,000 people were protesting in front of the National Palace in Guatemala City against corruption and the budget, which protesters say was negotiated and passed by legislators in secret while the Central American country was distracted by the fallout of back-to-back hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video on social media showed flames shooting out a window in the legislative building. Police fired tear gas at protestors.

“I feel like the future is being stolen from us. We don’t see any changes, this cannot continue like this,” said Mauricio Ramírez, a 20-year-old university student.

The amount of damage to the building was unclear, but the flames initially appear to have affected legislative offices, rather than the main hall of congress. Protesters also set some bus stations on fire.

Giammattei condemned the fires in his Twitter account Saturday.

“Anyone who is proven to have participated in the criminal acts will be punished with the full force of the law.”