Conflicts & War

Guatemalans block roads to protest firing of anti-corruption chief

Guatemala City, Jul 29 (EFE).- Thousands of people blocked roads in 20 of Guatemala’s 22 provinces Thursday to demand the resignations of the president and attorney general in the wake of the firing of the chief anti-corruption prosecutor.

Attorney General Consuelo Porras dismissed Juan Francisco Sandoval last Friday as the prosecutor was investigating alleged corruption involving President Alejandro Giammattei.

Participants were out in force early Thursday to halt traffic on two main routes into Guatemala City.

The blockades in the capital and much of the interior were organized in response to a call by groups representing indigenous people and peasants for a national strike.

Many in the Central American nation were already unhappy with Giammattei’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the move to stop Sandoval from looking into alleged misconduct by the president has brought increased discontent.

The United States was also critical of the decision to fire Sandoval and Washington announced a temporary suspension of contacts with the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office.

In his six years as anti-corruption prosecutor, Sandoval sent more than 200 people to prison, including former presidents and members of the economic elite.

Some of those successful prosecutions were assisted by the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), whose mandate ended in 2019.

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court granted authorization for Thursday’s demonstrations with the proviso that those taking part must respect the rights of their fellow citizens to move about freely. EFE oro/dr

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