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  • Campesinos protesting during the May demonstrations.

    Campesinos protesting during the May demonstrations. | Photo: EFE

Demonstrators want President Jimmy Morales to stand down as well as a list of other social demands.

Indigenous groups in Guatemala have called a 48 hour national strike and are holding street protests to demand the resignation of President Jimmy Morales.

“We are calling on the population to understand us because this issue of corruption in Guatemala not only affects the Indigenous and peasant sector, but the people in general," Miguel Ixtán, a member of the Committee for Rural Development, Codeca, organizer of the protests, told radio station FGER.

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The strike and protests are taking place in 18 different cities nationwide.

On May 23, Codeca, underpinned by the National Coordinator of Campesino Organizations, CNOC, carried out a mass strike.

They blockaded several  roads, in a show of opposition to Morales, who they claim is "incapable" of governing the country. 

They also allege the political elite have received bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Thousands of protesters are urging the government to establish a People's and Plurinational Constituent Assembly process, in order to develop Constitution, and convene snap elections.

"Given that there are no solutions to our demands, they force us to do this type of activity (again)," Ixtán insisted.

The protesters have blocked roads on the so-called Inter-American Route, which begins in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and ends in Yaviza, Darien province, Panama, about 97 kilometers away the Colombian border.

They have also blocked several sections of CA-2 Western highway linking the town of Cocales, in the department of Suchitepequez, with Tecun Uman, in the San Marcos region, near the border with Mexico.

Morales, a former comedian, took power in January 2016 after a political crisis ended the government of then-President Otto Perez, has criticized the demonstrations. 

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"We are asking them to understand that Guatemala is neither for stoppages nor for blockades. Guatemala wants to produce, it wants to work and if they really are representatives of the people, (they should) prove it," Morales told the media.

It's the fifth time Codeca has organized a strike during his presidential term. 

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