02:46 GMT27 November 2020
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    Guatemala has been seeing protests against the country's new 2021 budget, which, according to The Associated Press, has cut spending on education and health. According to protesters, cited by The AP, the budget was negotiated and passed by the legislators in secret amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of back-to-back hurricanes.

    Crowds of protesters stormed Guatemala's Congress building on Saturday, setting parts of the building on fire and smashing windows, according to videos shared on social media.

    What started as an estimated 7,000 people demonstrating in front of the National Palace in Guatemala City, protesting a drop in funding for education and health decreed in the new 2021 budget, evolved, according to AP, into a riot. 

    Protesters were filmed breaking into the Congress building as parts of the building were aflame and smoke poured out, while demonstrators threw projectiles at riot police trying to disperse the protest.

    Parts of the Congress building can also be seen to be covered in graffiti.

    ​One of the videos revealed a person pushed down to the ground by riot police dispersing the crowd.

    ​Smoke erupts inside the building as protesters storm the structure.

    ​Some protesters, according to the video, brought a guillotine to the demonstration.

    ​On Friday, according to the Associated Press, discontent over the 2021 national budget in Guatemala rose in social media, with a call for a large protest emerging on Saturday.

    Congress approved the budget in secret on Wednesday night.

    Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei warned on Saturday that demonstrators engaging in acts of vandalism would be held accountable.

    "I reiterate that you have the right to demonstrate in accordance with the law. But neither can we allow people to vandalize public or private property. Whoever is proven to have participated in these criminal acts will fall under the full weight of the law," Giammattei tweeted.

    Related:

    IMF Executive Board Decides to Allocate $594 Million to Help Guatemala Fight COVID-19
    One Dead After Plane With Tonne of Cocaine Aboard Crashes in Guatemala, Police Say
    Hurricane Eta: Death Toll in Guatemala Reaches 27 With 103 Missing After Deadly Landslide
    Tags:
    riot police, Riots, protests, protest, Guatemala
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