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Protesters block roads across Guatemala, urging president to step down – Metro US

Protesters block roads across Guatemala, urging president to step down

Protest to urge Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to step down,
Protest to urge Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to step down, in Guatemala City

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Members of one of Guatemala’s biggest farmers and indigenous groups blocked roads across the nation on Monday, calling on President Alejandro Giammattei and his attorney general to resign over the firing of a top anti-graft prosecutor.

It was the third time in the last 15 days that people took to the streets to protest the ousting of Juan Francisco Sandoval, the internationally recognized head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI), who was investigating potential acts of corruption by Giammattei.

Attorney General Maria Porras said Sandoval had undermined her work and named the electoral crimes prosecutor to take Sandoval’s role.

In Guatemala City, police patrolled government buildings, while on the outskirts of the capital, members of the farmers rights group CODECA placed planks of wood fitted with nails across highways to stop cars from circulating. Images in Guatemalan media and social media showed roadblocks in other parts of the country.

“We are calling for the resignation and investigation of President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General (Maria) Consuelo Porras,” Telma Cabrera, an indigenous former presidential candidate for the Movement for the Liberation of Peoples party and a leader of CODECA, told reporters.

Many university students have joined the protests organized by CODECA, which said it plans to maintain roadblocks throughout the day.

Some CODECA leaders said they also plan to protest outside Giammattei’s government office.

The latest protests highlight growing frustrations in Guatemala over corruption and the dismantling of judicial independence. In 2015, waves of such anti-corruption demonstrations brought about the downfall of then-president Otto Perez Molina.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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