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

View of an office of the Congress building set on fire by demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei in Guatemala City

Hundreds of protesters have broken into Guatemala's Congress and burned part of the building amid growing demonstrations against President Alejandro Giammattei and the legislature for approving a budget that cut educational and health spending.

About 1,000 protesters were demonstrating outside the Congress building.

The Congress building was reportedly set on fire.

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

I feel like the future is being stolen from us We dont see any changes this can not continue like this said Mauricio Ramirez a 20yearold university student.

As the country recovers from Hurricanes Eta and Iota, which hit within days of one another and displaced thousands of people, and copes with the coronavirus pandemic, legislators made drastic cuts to education spending, aid for Covid-19 patients and people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and funding for human rights agencies-while adding $65,000 to the budget for their own meal stipends. There were also reports of security personnel firing tear gas at protesters.

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Demonstrators are protesting about corruption and lack of oversight of the $12.8 billion 2021 budget, which was approved by congress in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

President Alejandro Giammattei tweeted that anyone involved in "criminal acts will be punished with the full force of the law". As protests ramped up Saturday, he said on Twitter he was meeting with various sectors to analyze modifications to the budget.

Recent moves by the Supreme Court and the Attorney-General, seen by citizens as attempts to undermine the fight against corruption, have also raised Guatemalans' ire.

Vice President Guillermo Castillo opposed the budget plan and has suggested both men resign. Castillo said he would not resign alone. The president has not publicly responded to Castillo's comments.

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. Both the former president and Baldetti are in jail awaiting trials in various corruption cases.

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