Guatemala protesters bring guillotine, set Congress building on fire: ‘Disgusting to see colonialism in action’

Guatemala protesters bring guillotine, set Congress building on fire: ‘Disgusting to see colonialism in action’
(Getty Images)

Thousands of protesters in Guatemala set part of the Congress building on fire on Saturday, November 21, after a controversial budget bill passed this week cut funding for health care and education. Protestors also reportedly brought a guillotine prior to setting the building on fire.

The building in Guatemala City was empty at the time of the attack, which lasted for about 10 minutes. The fire services have managed to put the fire out but the extent of the damage is not yet known, reported the BBC
The opposition says the budget prioritises big infrastructure projects to be handled by companies with government connections and overlooks the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country has also recently been hit by two damaging storms, Eta and Iota.
Protestors took to city and town squares all over the country with demands ranging from a presidential veto of the budget bill and prosecution of corruption to resignations across all branches of government and the constitutional assembly.

Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, denounced the arson by posting a tweet in spanish which translates into, “I reiterate that you have the right to demonstrate according to the law. But neither can we allow it to vandalize with public or private property. Whoever is proven his participation in these criminal acts will fall under the full weight of the law.” In an attempt to appease demonstrators, the president also said in an earlier news release that he was reviewing possible modifications to the budget.


On Friday, Vice President Guillermo Castillo said in a news conference that he had “little communication with the president” and offered to resign, but only if Giammattei stepped down with him. Giammattei has not responded to Castillo’s comments.

Protestors took their outrage out on Twitter as they feel they are living in a colonised country. “My heart is with guatemala right now, it's so disgusting to see colonialism in action stomping on the indigenous people there yet again, as someone who is partially indigenous descent from this region, i'm like go tf off burn it down!” A user posted a video of the protest on Twitter writing, “It is a VEEEEERY different vibe down here outside congress, where a march led by university students has stopped. CONGRESS IS NOW LITERALLY ON FIRE…” Another wrote, “Holy shit. The Guatemalan government tried to ram through a 2021 budget that dramatically cut social services and Guatemalans took to the streets in protest. Today they brought a literal guillotine and then lit their Congress on fire. Solidarity with the people of #Guatemala”




Retweeting a video of the Congress building on fire a Twitter user wrote, “Guatemala's rage hit its tipping point. The government has spent years not serving its citizens and favoring the rich and elite over the working class. Protests have been ongoing and today they lit fire to congress.” Saying the protestors are just warming up another user wrote, “These scenes out of Guatemala are mind-blowing—I thought it was wild when the guillotine showed up, turns out they were just getting warmed up.”



Share this article:  Guatemala protesters bring guillotine set Congress building on fire twitter reactions videos budget