Anti-corruption protests erupted in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, and other cities in the afternoon of Saturday, September 1. The demonstrations arose following the news that President Jimmy Morales would not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a joint UN-Guatemala task force responsible for investigating and prosecuting corruption and human rights abuses. Hundreds of people assembled in the Plaza de la Constitución (Guatemala City) and the Parque Central (Quetzaltenango) around 15:00 (local time) on Saturday. None of the civil society groups have planned further protests as of Saturday evening, though further rallies are possible in the coming days.
The CICIG was formed in 2006 when the UN and Guatemala signed an agreement to establish an independent, international body that would investigate and charge serious crime in the country. The CICIG was successful in prosecuting high-profile cases, including extrajudicial killings, drug trafficking, fraud, and a government conspiracy and corruption scandal that involved then-President Otto Pérez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti. The investigation resulted in their resignations and arrest.
Individuals in Guatemala are advised to monitor the situation, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, and avoid public gatherings as a precaution.
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