Thousands of campesinos took to the streets in Guatemala Wednesday and blocked traffic in the capital city to put pressure on President Jimmy Morales to make political and economic reforms to benefit rural workers, local media reported.
The campesino organizations raised their voices on a list of diverse demands, starting with fundamental respect for constitutional rights of the Guatemalan people and extending to issues of wages, the environment, and national sovereignty.
The protesters called for those responsible for intimidating campesino leaders to be prosecuted and for all human rights defenders who have been criminalized and jailed to see justice and be freed.
The rural groups also expressed concern about the issue of food security, calling on Morales to set a minimum wage that corresponds with the price of basic goods and implement subsidies for agricultural production to help boost Guatemala’s food security.
The marchers also demanded an end to exploitative natural resource projects that damage the environment and displace communities and called for the government to nationalize energy resources for the benefit of the people and cancel harmful agreements with transnational corporations that have committed human rights abuses in Guatemala.
The campesinos also called for some 135 land conflicts to be resolved and to receive a guarantee to decent housing.
The full list of demands also included other requests for the government to act in the interest of the people in conducting economic affairs of the country.
Rural Indigenous communities in Guatemala have long suffered deep inequality, poverty, and precarious access to land.
The Central American country is home to one of the most unequal land distribution patterns in Latin America.
WATCH: Guatemala and Honduras Jail Citizens for Protesting