August 27, 2015
Citizens, fed up with government corruption, have organized a march and national strike, which they say may last for several days.
Thousands of citizens across Guatemala walked out of their offices, schools and homes Thursday, to participate in a national strike to demand that President Otto Perez Molina – who has been embroiled in a massive corruption scandal – finally step down.
Tens of thousands of Guatemalans, some say up to 120,000, flooded the Constitution Square blue with their flags on the so-called 27-A, baring banners with the slogan “Resign Otto.”
Perez Molina has refused to step down from his post, even though evidence has surfaced over the past week – including audio recordings of the president conducting dirty dealings – which has connected him to the infamous “La Linea” corruption scandal that has rocked the nation over the past year, with more and more high-level officials exposed for their involvement.
On Wednesday, the Guatemalan Supreme Court approved an order by the country’s attorney general to impeach Perez Molina, yet he resisted calls to step down.
Union members, college and university students, social movements, businesses, religious groups and homemakers decided to take to the streets, after the president announced on national television that would not leave the office.
The thousands of frustrated citizens will take to the streets of the capital Guatemala City Thursday to participate in massive march, beginning 10 a.m. local time. They also added that the nationwide strike may last several days.
“We cannot remain indifferent in face of this national reality that affects us, and which shows a system dominated by government corruption and injustice,” said the private university Liceo Javier in a statement, which encouraged its students, staff and Guatemala citizens to participate in the strike.
“We join the strike as an act to speak out in favor of a better Guatemala,” said the University’s director, Jaime Parra.
Among the officials arrested for their connection to “La Linea” is the now former Vice President Roxana Baldetti. At least 12 other officials have resigned from their posts since the scandal broke out, leaving the government scrambling to replace them.
The strike comes just one week before Guatemalans are expected to head to the polls, to elect a new president and vice president Sept. 6. However, protesters say the nationwide movements highlight the widespread dissatisfaction with the country’s political structure and the conditions in which they have to choose new leaders.
Protesters have also taken to social media to voice their anger and frustration with the politics in Guatemala under the hashtags #Paro27A (Strike27A[ugust]), #YoNoTengoPresidente (IHaveNoPresident), and #YoEstoyPorGuate (IAmForGuate).