Guatemala City, Aug 10 (EFE).- Dozens of indigenous women gathered here Thursday outside the Guatemalan Attorney General’s to weave traditional fabrics as a protest against what they see as prosecutors’ attempt to sabotage the Aug. 20 presidential runoff.
“In the Attorney General’s Office they weave corruption and pimp for the criminals,” Alida Vicente, a leader of the National Movement of Mayan Weavers, said during the unusual demonstration in Guatemala City.
The AG Office has been the scene of numerous protests since the first round of voting on June 25, prompting police to erect metal barriers in front of the building.
The women used the barriers as scaffolding to hang up two black blankets emblazoned with the names of prosecutors they blame for trying to block reformist candidate Bernardo Arevalo de Leon from competing against former first lady Sandra Torres in the runoff.
Other blankets bore slogans such as “The fabrics are the books the colony could not burn” and “We weave with hope and joy.”
“We are women from 20 different peoples of the country. We are mobilized for dignity and the defense of human rights, which are being undermined in this election period by the Attorney General’s Office,” Iris Sactic told EFE.
On June 25, Semilla, a social democratic party that grew out of massive anti-corruption protests in 2015, not only won 23 congressional races, but its presidential candidate, Arevalo, shocked Guatemala’s political class by finishing second and qualifying for the runoff.
Since then, the rightist administration of outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei, who cannot seek re-election due to the constitution’s one-term limit, has gone on the attack against Semilla, trying to outlaw the party and remove Arevalo from the ballot for the second round.
And while the Constitutional Court has ruled that Semilla cannot be banned in the middle of the election process, prosecutors have carried out searches of the party’s headquarters and issued arrest warrants for party officials.
Parties ranging from center-right to right have been in power since the restoration of democracy in 1986 and this year marks the first time in nearly 70 years that the left has a chance at power in the Central American nation.
Arevalo is the son of Guatemala’s first democratically elected president, Juan Jose Arevalo (1904-1990). EFE dte/dr