Guatemala demonstrators renew protests

Protesters demanding the resignation of Guatemala's president have again taken to the streets.
Protesters demanding the resignation of Guatemala's president have again taken to the streets.

Guatemalans protesting the government have again clashed with police, one week after part of the parliamentary building had been burnt down.

Thousands of people initially took to the streets peacefully on Saturday in the capital and other cities, demanding the resignation of conservative president Alejandro Giammattei and other politicians whom they accused of corruption.

Many of them carried signs referencing comments from a representative of a right-wing party who called poor Guatemalans "bean eaters".

Some people from the crowd in downtown Guatemala City threw stones and bottles at police officers, who in turn used tear gas, according to local reporters.

Several people were injured, including police officers and journalists, and a bus was set on fire, according to the reports.

There had already been injuries and arrests during protests on both days of the previous weekend.

On Saturday, demonstrators had set parts of the congress building on fire over a controversial draft budget by Congress.

Protesters objected to cuts in the social and educational sectors and high levels of debt, and pointed to a lack of transparency by lawmakers.

Giammattei accused the demonstrators of wanting to force a coup.

The Saturday protests went ahead even after parliament withdrew the budget on Monday.

Anger over the budget also become tied up in existing resentment against the country's political elite, some of which originated before Giammattei's term of office, which only began in January.

Five years ago, the then-president Otto Perez Molina resigned due to corruption investigations and was arrested shortly thereafter.

Australian Associated Press