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Guatemala’s Arevalo warns of state violence against protests, cautions of potential ‘siege’ situation.

Guatemala President-Elect Warns of Possible State of “Siege” Amidst Protests

Government Violence and Tension in Guatemala

Guatemala’s president-elect, Bernardo Arevalo, has raised concerns about the government’s use of violence to counter ongoing protests. He warns that this violence could be used as a pretext to declare a state of “siege.” Despite tighter measures announced by the government, Arevalo believes that tensions are being intentionally created to justify extreme measures.

Demands for Resignation and Electoral Controversy

The protests, now in their eighth consecutive day, continue to demand the resignation of authorities from the attorney general’s office. International accusations have been made against the office, claiming that they are undermining Arevalo’s landslide electoral victory in August. In response, the attorney general’s office has conducted raids on electoral authorities and the Semilla party headquarters, even moving to suspend the party.

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Impact on Daily Life and Regional Support

The protests have disrupted daily life, leading to the suspension of classes in the capital. In neighboring El Salvador, authorities have offered assistance to Guatemalan aircraft experiencing fuel shortages due to blockades. The situation has caught the attention of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose head has accepted an invitation to mediate between Guatemalan officials and protesters. The goal is to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to Arevalo.

Outgoing President’s Stance and Call for Mediation

Outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei, speaking on national TV, has declared that street blockades will no longer be tolerated as they are illegal. He claims to have evidence of funds being transferred from abroad to local NGOs to sustain the blockades, and authorities plan to request arrest warrants. Giammattei also urges Arevalo to meet with OAS mediators to facilitate a peaceful handover on January 14.

“Many foreigners have participated in the blockades in the western part of the country,” Giammattei added.

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It is crucial to address these concerns and ensure a smooth transition of power in Guatemala. The next few weeks will be vital in determining the future of the country and its leadership.

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