Guatemala City – Preserving picket indicators emblazoned with messages condemning corruption, Dolores Yal and other indigenous Maya Kaqchikel girls and males lined up on the lend a hand of their banners, ready for the march to originate up.
They travelled 65km from the Patzicia municipality to Guatemala City to affix a entire bunch of Guatemalans to march in opposition to the most stylish government threats to constitutional expose and anti-corruption efforts.
“We are here to oppose corruption. Now we salvage already been battling it for years,” Yal, a leader of the Residents Against Corruption in Patzicia glide, told Al Jazeera.
The protests come after Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on Monday shutdown the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and ordered its global employees to proceed the country inside of 24 hours.
The CICIG shutdown and government defiance of Constitutional Court rulings overturning its anti-CICIG measures salvage sparked frequent opposition. Patzicia residents, city collectives, human rights activists, students, artists and other Guatemalans gathered at a capital city roundabout Saturday to originate up an hours-lengthy march into the downtown core.
“We manufacture not desire [CICIG] to proceed the country. We desire it to come lend a hand lend a hand,” acknowledged Yal.
|Residents from Patzicia, Chimaltenango march in the state rejecting Morales’ actions in opposition to CICIG [Jeff Abbott/Al Jazeera]|
Jorge Santos sees the growing demonstrations as a sure signal. The govt. director of Udefegua, a national human rights group, Santos attended the march alongside with other human rights observers from the organisation.
“The govt. division of presidency undertook these illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate actions all the plan through a length when they didn’t quiz of participants to react, between Christmas and into the original twelve months,” he told Al Jazeera as a entire bunch of participants started marching up a boulevard.
Repeated assaults on CICIG
Established in 2007, CICIG gained global attention following an investigation into the administration of then President Otto Perez Molina, which resulted in his resignation in 2015 and prosecution for corruption.
Morales used to be elected president on an anti-corruption platform correct days after Perez Molina’s arrest. Since taking office in 2016, nevertheless, the Morales administration has faced investigations into alleged acts of corruption, in conjunction with illegal financing of the 2015 marketing campaign. Morales has denied all allegations of corruption.
As the investigations into Morales and his party progressed, the administration attempted in 2017 to derail CICIG’s investigations by declaring head commissioner Ivan Velasquez persona non-grata, attempting to bar him from the country. The measure used to be reversed days later by the country’s Constitutional Court.
In August 2018, Morales presented that he used to be not going to renew CICIG’s mandate after which barred Velasquez from the country in early September. All another time the Constitutional Court dominated in opposition to Morales’s unilateral choice, however the administration refused to conform with the court docket expose.
The battle between the government and the country’s top court docket persevered over visas for global CICIG personnel in December 2018 and into the original twelve months, when the government detained a CICIG investigator January 5 for better than 24 hours upon entry on the airport.
Two days later, Morales presented Monday that the government used to be unilaterally withdrawing from the settlement with the UN that established the CICIG. He accused the physique of polarising the country, violating human rights, and being allied with criminal constructions and “terrorists”.
“The [government] thinks that it has absolute energy,” acknowledged Pamela Saravia, a member of the Batucada del Pueblo collective that has participated with drumming in in the case of every anti-corruption state since 2015.
“That is the 2nd to expose them that it is a long way not that technique. Now we must protect the constitution,” Saravia told Al Jazeera.
The Constitutional Court ordered a provisional injunction on Wednesday, reversing the expulsion of CICIG, however the very ultimate court docket itself will be below attack. The federal government has been defying its rulings, breaking with constitutional expose, and government-aligned politicians strive and purchase judges.
In a public assertion on Friday, the Guatemalan government pledged ongoing strengthen for anti-corruption efforts and the rule of law, but made no narrate level out of either CICIG or the court docket.
Extra protests expected
Velasquez weighed in on Friday with an 11-page letter to UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres, laying out vital aspects of the fee’s work and responding to the accusations in opposition to CICIG levelled by Morales, amongst others.
“The smear campaigns, defamation and threats salvage elevated. That’s expected in phrases of a physique that has as its device the prosecution of constructions that co-opt the Teach to bring collectively a profit and that refuse to present up the privileges they purchased illegally and illegitimately,” Velasquez wrote.
Saturday’s march kicked off diverse days of protests and scheduled for subsequent week across the country.
A huge coalition of organisations has organised toll road and border blockades on Monday, and a rural social glide has plans for additonal nationwide actions on Tuesday.
Guatemalan movements survey the battle in opposition to corruption and a constitutional breakdown as more vital than ever as the country prepares for the June 2019 authorized elections.
“The challenge correct now might well well maybe be that we must protect and hiss that the government respects the constitution,” acknowledged Saravia.
“We must prevent by all technique the authoritarianism of the government that we are seeing on the unusual time,” she acknowledged.