Guatemala: protesters set fire to Congress building

Thousands protested in Guatemala's capital Nov. 21 against a newly approved 2021 national budget that imposes deep cuts in funding for health care, education and programs to combat malnutrition—at a time when the country is hit hard by natural disasters and COVID-19. One breakaway group of protesters hurled improvised incendiary devices at the Congress building, setting it on fire. Police used batons and tear-gas to push protesters back, attacking not only the some 1,000 in front of Congress but also a much larger demonstration in front of the National Palace. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned what it called an "excessive use of force" by the National Civil Police, while the government of President Alejandro Giammattei accused the protesters of "terrorist acts" that will be "punished with the full force of the law." (NYT, Al Jazeera, Prensa Libre, Prensa Libre)

Guatemala's highlands had still not recovered from the devastation from Hurricane Eta earlier this month when the region was hit again last week by Hurricane Iota, leaving many thousands more impacted. (Telemundo)

Guatemala: opposition journalist arrested

Guatemalan police on July 29 arrested journalist Jose Ruben Zamora and raided the offices of El Periodico, the newspaper he founded, which has accused key political figures in the country of corruption. The newspaper's staff denounced the arrest as retaliation for past reporting on President Alejandro Giammattei, as well as Attorney General Consuelo Porras, who the United States censured earlier this year for "significant corruption." The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for Zamora's release. (VOA, CPJ)