The Guatemalan National Civil Police on Tuesday evacuated deputies and workers who had been detained in the Congress during a violent protest by retired soldiers, who forcibly entered the parliamentary building and burned vehicles and some of its offices.
At least ten deputies from various benches along with their teams and the Minister of Energy and Mines, Alberto Pimentel, were released by the security forces through the main gate, on the street parallel to the parking lot of the Palace Legislative, where military veterans entered.
“We ran to get on the patrol cars and get out of there on 9th avenue. We are all shocked. The ex-soldiers are too violent, they are with machetes and stones, threatening. They burned my office and destroyed cars and other offices near the parking lot,” said the Seed Movement deputy Luis Fernando Pineda Lemusseconds after being evacuated.
The legislator added that there were workers and deputies with “nervous breakdown”, such as Congresswoman Karina Paz, from the National Unit of Hope, or Minister Pimentel himself, who “feels very bad.”
Another congressman from Semilla, Samuel Perez Alvarez, said that the deputies were going to enter the Congress to the plenary session when the protesters became violent, with machetes.
“We decided not to enter and we moved away from the area, but there are colleagues who have their offices inside and had to experience that tension from within,” he said.
What are the demands of the protesters?
Former combatants of the internal armed conflict request financial compensation for their services to the Guatemalan Army during the internal armed conflict (1960-1996).
During the last three weeks, the war veterans had demonstrated on several days with roadblocks, and finally this Tuesday they decided to take action against the Congress.
The initiative requested by the veterans of the internal war is under analysis by the Defense, Finance and Human Rights commissions of Congress and proposes a payment of 120 thousand quetzals (15 thousand 500 dollars approximately) for each of the ex-military or their relatives if they have already died, awarded in four annual payments.
The financial compensation to the veterans of the internal war was one of the campaign promises of the Guatemalan president, Alexander Giammattei, in his election campaign in 2019.
The internal war ended on December 29, 1996 with the signing of the Peace Accords between the Government and the Guerrilla composed of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit (URNG), with a balance of more than 250,000 dead and missing, which in more than 90% of cases are attributed to the Guatemalan Army according to the United Nations Commission for Historical Clarification.
With information from EFE
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