Protesters set fire to Guatemala’s parliament in protest against the new state budget. Flames broke out from inside the parliament building in Guatemala City on Saturday, a journalist for the AFP news agency reported. The Red Cross treated several people for smoke inhalation, said a spokesman for the organization.
The protest was directed against Head of State Alejandro Giammattei and his controversial record budget for 2021 of almost 12.8 billion dollars (10.79 billion euros). That is around a quarter more than this year.
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Hundreds of protesters had marched outside parliament to demand Giammatei’s resignation. Shortly before, Vice President Guillermo Castillo had asked the head of state to step down with him “for the good of the country”. Castillo informed the public about this through a message on online networks and in a WhatsApp message to journalists.
The Guatemalan parliament, which is dominated by Giammattei’s party and its allies, passed the billion-dollar budget this week. It puts heavy debts on the country. In addition, most of the money goes into infrastructure managed by private companies, rather than fighting the widespread poverty in Guatemala. 59.3 percent of Guatemala’s 17 million inhabitants live in poverty, and around half of children under five are malnourished.
The trained doctor Giamattei is also under criticism for his corona management. The hospitals of the Central American country are struggling with supply bottlenecks. According to official information, 118,417 corona infections have been detected in Guatemala so far, 4074 infected people have died. (AFP)