Indigenous protesters killed by Guatemalan security forces
Freedom House is concerned by Guatemalan security forces’ excessive use of force to repress a social protest in Totonicapán, Guatemala last week and calls for a thorough investigation into the incident. Freedom House urges the Guatemalan government to use peaceful means to maintain order during protests, and to promote dialogue with indigenous communities.
According to news sources, 48 indigenous communities were protesting against electricity hikes, education issues and the perceived militarization of civil society. More than eight people were killed and 34 injured during the joint police and military operation. Security forces claimed they opened fire against the protesters in self-defense. However, videos and witness testimonies indicate otherwise, showing that police used tear gas indiscriminately and that soldiers fired at the protesters immediately after arriving at the scene.
Guatemala is ranked Partly Free in Freedom of the World 2012, Freedom House’s annual global assessment of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2012.
Freedom in the World 2012: Guatemala
Freedom of the Press 2011: Guatemala
Countries at the Crossroads 2012: Guatemala