Protesters burn part of Guatemala's Congress building over budget bill

Guatemalan congress set on fire amidst protests

Guatemala: Congress on fire after protesters storm building

Violence has broken out in Guatemala, as hundreds broke into Congress and set fire to the building amid huge protests in the capital.

The country's Congress has also approved $3.8 billion to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but less than 15 per cent of those funds have been invested.

The flames in the Legislative Palace were visible from the street and the Red.

On Friday, according to the Associated Press, discontent over the 2021 national budget in Guatemala rose in social media, with a call for a large protest emerging on Saturday.

Guatemala's Congress, dominated by conservative pro-government parties, this week approved an nearly $13 billion budget, the largest in the country's history.

"I reiterate that you have the right to demonstrate in accordance with the law". He added that he defended people's right to protest, "but neither can we allow people to vandalize public or private property". "Whoever is proven to have participated in these criminal acts will fall under the full weight of the law", Giammattei tweeted.

People in the country were angered because the budget had approved $65,000 to pay for meals for themselves, but slashed funding for human rights agencies and Covid-19 patients. As protests ramped up Saturday, he said on Twitter he was meeting with various sectors to analyze modifications to the budget.

Vice President Guillermo Castillo opposed the budget plan and has suggested both men resign.

Giammattei had not responded publicly to that proposal and Castillo did not share the president's reaction to his proposal.

It also passed while the country was distracted by the fallout of hurricanes Eta and Iota, which brought torrential rains to much of Central America.

He said the budget appeared to favour ministries that have historically been hotspots of corruption.

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