Protesters set fire to the parliament in Guatemala (VIDEO)

Protesters set fire to the parliament in Guatemala.

Hundreds of protesters stormed the Guatemalan Congress yesterday and set fire to part of the building after mass demonstrations against President Alejandro Yamatei and parliament over an approved budget with cut spending on education and health care, the Associated Press reported.

Some 7,000 people protested in front of the National Palace in Guatemala City against the 2021 budget, which they said was negotiated and adopted by lawmakers secretly, on Wednesday night, while public attention was occupied by Hurricane Eta and Iota and the pandemic COVID-19. According to social media, security forces used tear gas against protesters and injured.

Yamatei responded by saying on Twitter that "Anyone who is proven to have been involved in criminal activities will be punished with the full force of the law". He acknowledged the right of people to protest, but added: "We cannot allow people to vandalize public or private property". The president says he is meeting with various groups to propose changes to the controversial budget, which protesters say benefits ministries accused of corruption.

Dissatisfaction with the 2021 budget began on social media and erupted in demonstrations and clashes on Friday. Outrage was caused by lawmakers approving $ 65,000 for their own food costs, but cutting funding for coronavirus patients and human rights agencies. Vice President Guillermo Castillo offered his resignation, telling Yamatei that they should both step down "for the good of the country" and urging him to veto the budget. The leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in Guatemala on Friday also called on the president to veto it.

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