GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Guatemala’s government called fires set by protesters at Congress “terrorist acts” while the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on Sunday condemned what it called an “excessive use of force” by police against demonstrators opposed to a new budget that slashes social spending.
Protesters broke into the Congress building and set one office afire on Saturday, and tossed rocks at police. Flames poured out of the building’s neoclassical facade.
Police used tear gas and nightsticks to push demonstrators back, attacking not only about 1,000 demonstrators in front of Congress but also a much larger protest in front of the country’s National Palace. Some protesters also damaged bus stations.
The commission wrote in its Twitter account that it “condemns the excessive use of force by authorities against demonstrators” but also asked for an investigation into “the acts of vandalism against Congress, after which State agents indiscriminately suppressed the protest.”
It said governments “must respect peaceful demonstration,” but when