At least six indigenous farmers of the K’iche’ ethnic group were killed and dozens injured when the police and military intervened to sedate a protest against high electric power costs along a road of the western Sololá department.
Based on a reconstruction by President Otto Pérez, “two army vehicles transporting troops to back police in dispersing the demonstrators were stopped at a roadblock set up by the protesters. People on a truck in front of them opened fire… It was the civilians. When the soldiers heard the shots, they dispersed in the area to not engage with the people”, Pérez explained.
According to the President, the soldiers were wearing anti-riot gear, but were not armed. “We are prepared to conduct a full revision of the officers and soldiers at the scene to determine any responsibilities”, added Pérez. Many questions however remain on the events.
The violence came as the President received civic representatives of 48 areas of the Totonicapán department in Guatemala City, who since early yesterday blocked various roads of the western region demanding a series of measures for the population, including lower electric bills. Pérez declared that the leaders of the protest agreed to interrupt the demonstrations, while he to stop security force interventions.
The indigenous leader and 1992 Nobel peace prize laureate, Rigoberta Menchú, expressed “indignation” over what occurred, adding “it reminds of the past”, referring to the long civil war (1960-1996) that left over 200,000 dead, mostly natives. Menchú stated that her Foundation has created a commission to legally support the families of the victims in shedding light on those responsible: “It is important that these events don’t remain unpunished. It is critical for Guatemala, because the security forces are implicated”.