Guatemala City (AP) – During protests against the 2021 budget, protesters in Guatemala City set parts of the Congress on fire.
A group broke into the building in the historic center of the city on Saturday and set fire to it. The television showed how flames came out of a window of the parliament. The fire brigade later brought the fire under control, the police said. On the fringes of the largely peaceful demonstration, demonstrators hurled stones at the police, and officials fired tear gas into the crowd.
“There is a right to demonstrate,” wrote President Alejandro Giammattei on Twitter. “But we cannot allow public or private property to be destroyed. Anyone who takes part in these criminal acts will face the full severity of the law. “
The demonstrators called on the head of state to veto the budget. The budget for the coming year was last approved by the MPs in a fast-track procedure without public debate. The draft met with rejection from numerous social groups from entrepreneurs to social movements and the education sector to the Catholic Church. The high new debts, cuts in the social and educational sector and lack of transparency were criticized.
Critics accused the Congress of having passed the budget quickly, while the people in the Central American country had to struggle with the consequences of the devastating tropical storms “Eta” and “Iota”.
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