Source: Latin Times
August 27 2015
Guatemalan President Otto Pérez faced opposition on the streets again today as his former Vice President Roxana Baldetti goes to trial over corruption charges. Business closed and workers and students walked out of buildings and into the streets in at least a dozen cities on Thursday, according to Prensa Libre, which live-blogged the strike.
Though Pérez is a staunch conservative, opposition was not strictly partisan. Initially organized by educational organizations and social justice groups, the strike itself received outspoken support from a cross-section of society and major corporations, including Sears and a major national bank.
On the streets of Guatemala City, chants of “step down now,” “prison for the corrupt,” and “I don’t have a president” were heard in dozens of cities, La Prensa Gráfica reported. In Cobán, protesters published a video of a massive chorus singing a patriotic song. On Twitter, Guatemalans rallied under #Paro27A, short for “Strike August 27th.” Pictures of cute pet dogs with protest signs were common.
On Tuesday, Guatemala’s Supreme Court approved a request by the country’s attorney general to force Pérez to resign. Congress still has to sign off before he can be hauled into court, but the office of the Attorney General has formally recommended that the president step down voluntarily in order to avoid “ungovernability,” according to a statement released on Wednesday.
The “La Línea” scandal has implicated Pérez’s VP, Baldetti, after months of painstaking investigation by a U.N.-backed legal team. Baldetti has not been granted bail and sits behind bars during the trial. Her secretary, who is charged with participating in the corruption scheme, has fled authorities. Read our reporting from earlier in the week to learn more of the details about the corruption scandal.
Prensa Libre also reported major protests in Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, Sololá, Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, San Marcos, Quiché, El Progreso, Jalapa, Baja Verapaz, Petén, Sacatepéquez and Huehuetenango.
Star Guatemalan soccer player Carlos Ruiz joined protesters in Guatemala City.
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