Anti-corruption protests ongoing since the beginning of the month are likely to continue in the country following the September 17 announcement by the government that it would continue to block a lead prosecutor from the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) - a joint UN-Guatemala task force responsible for investigating and prosecuting corruption and human rights abuses - from entering the country. This is in defiance of a court ruling made the day prior, ordering the government to allow prosecutor Iván Velásquez to return.
If protests are held, demonstrators may block major city avenues (e.g. in the capital Guatemala City) and/or highways. A heightened security presence is to be anticipated near all demonstration sites and clashes and other forms of violence are possible. Large-scale social unrest (e.g. mass protests) cannot be ruled out.
Protests have been held to call for President Morales's resignation since he initially banned Velásquez from the country on September 4, and said he would not renew the CICIG's mandate on August 31.
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 the country, notably the capital, 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.
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