Hundreds of protesters broke 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.

The incident on Saturday came as about 10,000 people were protesting in front of the National Palace in Guatemala City against corruption and the budget, which protesters say was negotiated and passed by legislators in secret while the Central American country was distracted by the fallout of back-to-back hurricanes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

Video on social media showed flames coming out of a window in the legislative building. Police fired tea gas at protesters, and about a dozen people were reported injured.

“We are outraged by poverty, injustice, the way they have stolen the public’s money,” said Rosa de Chavarría, a psychology professor.

“I feel like the future is being stolen from us. We don’t see any changes. This cannot continue like this,” added Mauricio Ramírez, a 20-year-old university student.

The amount of damage to the building was unclear, but the fire appears to have affected legislative offices rather than the main hall of congress. Protesters also set bus stations on fire.


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