Weekly Report - 28 October 2021 (WR-21-43)

GUATEMALA: Giammattei leans on familiar crutch

President Alejandro Giammattei last week declared a 30 day-long state of siege in El Estor municipality, Izabal department. The move, which allows for a military deployment and restricts constitutional guarantees, follows protests staged by indigenous groups in relation to a contentious mining project, the Fénix nickel mine, which was suspended last year but which, these groups complain, has continued operations. It follows Giammattei’s invocation of similar measures in response to protests over various issues – not least his government’s handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic [WR-21-33] – and has again left his administration open to accusations of criminalising popular protest and protecting contentious extractive industry projects.

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