Anti-corruption protests ongoing since the beginning of the month are expected to continue in the country through at least Wednesday, September 12. On September 10, protesters blocked a major highway in the western highlands. Similar actions are possible elsewhere in the country, notably in the capital Guatemala City, in the coming hours and days. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be anticipated near all demonstration sites.
Demonstrators have been holding the protests to call for the resignation of President Jimmy Morales after he banned a UN-backed special prosecutor from returning to Guatemala and refuse to 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.
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 crimes 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 (Morales’s predecessor) and Vice President Roxana Baldetti. The investigation resulted in their resignations and arrests. The CICIG has also been investigating Morales and his family, and has recommended his impeachment.
Individuals in affected areas are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and allow for extra time to reach their destinations.